Enhanced expression of Galectin-3 in gestational diabetes

Ishai Heusler, Tal Biron-Shental, Sivan Farladansky-Gershnabel, Yael Pasternak, Debora Kidron, Inna Vulih-Shuitsman, Yael Einbinder, Keren Cohen-Hagai, Sydney Benchetrit, Tali Zitman-Gal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background and aims: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), hyperglycemia diagnosed during pregnancy, is one of the most common medical complications of pregnancy, treated primarily by diet and pharmacotherapy, if indicated. It is well-established that GDM increases the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes and long-term complications in mothers and infants. Galectin-3 (Gal-3) is important in processes of cell growth, differentiation, inflammation, and fibrosis. We evaluated Gal-3 expression in pregnancies complicated by GDM as a parameter that might explain how GDM influences early onset of future complications. Methods and results: Forty-four women with GDM and 40 with normal pregnancy (NP) were recruited during delivery admission. Blood samples were obtained from parturients and umbilical cords blood, as well as placental tissue for analysis. Gal-3 mRNA expression was increased in maternal blood samples and placental tissue of women with GDM compared to NP. In GDM, Gal-3 mRNA was decreased in cord blood compared to maternal blood and placental tissue. Gal-3 GDM placental protein expression was increased compared to NP. Immunostaining revealed that Gal-3 is upregulated in GDM placental extravillous trophoblast. ELISA of Gal-3 maternal serum levels between GDM and NP were similar. Conclusion: Gal-3 is strongly expressed at molecular levels (mRNA and protein expression) in GDM maternal blood and placental tissue, and decreased in cord blood. These findings highlight the role of the placenta in protecting the fetus from potential Gal-3 damage. Gal-3 expression at mRNA and protein levels might be influenced by diabetes, even if blood glucose is balanced by medication or diet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1791-1797
Number of pages7
JournalNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number6
StatePublished - 7 Jun 2021


FundersFunder number
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Meir Medical Center, Kfar Saba, Israel


    • Galectin-3
    • Gestational diabetes mellitus
    • Inflammatory responses
    • Placenta


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