Galectin-3 levels are elevated following nintedanib treatment

Gali Epstein Shochet, Alon Pomerantz, David Shitrit, Becky Bardenstein-Wald, Kjetil Ask, Mark Surber, Noa Rabinowicz, Yair Levy, Sydney Benchetrit, Evgeny Edelstein, Tali Zitman-Gal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Aims: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a common and severe form of pulmonary fibrosis. Nintedanib, a triple angiokinase inhibitor, is approved for treating IPF. Galectin 3 (Gal-3) activates a variety of profibrotic processes. Currently, the Gal-3 inhibitor TD139 is being tested in phase II clinical trials. Since this treatment is given ‘on top’ of nintedanib, it is important to estimate its effect on Gal-3 levels. Therefore, we evaluated the impact of nintedanib on Gal-3 expression using both in vitro and in vivo models, in addition to serum samples from patients with IPF. Methods: Gal-3 levels were evaluated in IPF and control tissue samples, primary human lung fibroblasts (HLFs) following nintedanib treatment (10–100 nM, quantitative polymerase chain reaction), and in a silica-induced fibrosis mouse model with/without nintedanib (0.021–0.21 mg/kg) by immunohistochemistry. In addition, Gal-3 levels were analyzed in serum samples from 41 patients with interstitial lung disease patients with/without nintedanib treatment by ELISA. Results: Nintedanib addition to HLFs resulted in significant elevations in Gal-3, phospho-signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (pSTAT3), as well as IL-8 mRNA levels (p < 0.05). Gal-3 expression was higher in samples from IPF patients compared with non-IPF controls at the protein and mRNA levels (p < 0.05). In the in vivo mouse model, Gal-3 levels were increased following fibrosis induction and even further increased with the addition of nintedanib, mostly in macrophages (p < 0.05). Patients receiving nintedanib presented with higher Gal-3 serum levels compared with those who did not receive nintedanib (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Nintedanib elevates Gal-3 levels in both experimental models, along with patient samples. These findings highlight the possibility of using combined inhibition therapy for patients with IPF.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease
StatePublished - 2020


  • galectin-3
  • idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
  • in vivo models
  • nintedanib
  • signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3)


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