Galectin-1 induces chemokine production and proliferation in pancreatic stellate cells

Atsushi Masamune, Masahiro Satoh, Jun Hirabayashi, Kenichi Kasai, Kennichi Satoh, Tooru Shimosegawa

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64 Citations (Scopus)


Galectin-1 is a β-galactoside-binding lectin. Previous studies have shown that galectin-1 was expressed in fibroblasts of chronic pancreatitis and of desmoplastic reaction associated with pancreatic cancer. These fibroblasts are now recognized as activated pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs). Here, we examined the role of galectin-1 in cell functions of PSCs. PSCs were isolated from rat pancreatic tissue and used in their culture-activated phenotype unless otherwise stated. Expression of galectin-1 was assessed by Western blot analysis, RT-PCR, and immunofluorescent staining. The effects of recombinant galectin-1 on chemokine production and proliferation were evaluated. Activation of transcription factors was assessed by EMSA. Activation of MAPKs was examined by Western blot analysis using antiphosphospecific antibodies. Galectin-1 was strongly expressed in culture-activated but not freshly isolated PSCs. Recombinant galectin-1 increased proliferation and production of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant-1. Galectin-1 activated ERK, JNK, activator protein-1, and NF-κB, but not p38 MAPK or Akt. Galectin-1 induced proliferation through ERK and chemokine production mainly through the activation of NF-κB and in part by JNK and ERK pathways. These effects of galectin-1 were abolished in the presence of thiodigalactosie, an inhibitor of β-galactoside binding. In conclusion, our results suggest a role of galectin-1 in chemokine production and proliferation through its β-galactoside binding activity in activated PSCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)G729-G736
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Apr


  • Galectin
  • Pancreatic fibrosis
  • Pancreatitis


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