Galectins distinctively regulate central monocyte and macrophage function

Daniela Paclik*, Lael Werner, Olaf Guckelberger, Bertram Wiedenmann, Andreas Sturm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Monocytes and macrophages link the innate and adaptive immune systems and protect the host from the outside world. In inflammatory disorders their activation leads to tissue damage. Galectins have emerged as central regulators of the immune system. However, if they regulate monocyte/macrophage physiology is still unknown.Binding of Gal-1, Gal-2, Gal-3 and Gal-4 to monocytes/macrophages, activation, cytokine secretion and apoptosis were determined by FACS, migration by Transwell system and phagocytosis by phagotest. Supernatants from macrophages co-cultured with galectins revealed their influence on T-cell function.In our study Gal-1, Gal-2, Gal-4, and partly Gal-3 bound to monocytes/macrophages. Galectins prevented Salmonella-induced MHCII upregulation. Cytokine release was distinctly induced by different galectins. T-cell activation was significantly restricted by supernatants of macrophages co-cultured in the presence of Gal-2 or Gal-4. Furthermore, all galectins tested significantly inhibited monocyte migration. Finally, we showed for the first time that galectins induce potently monocyte, but not macrophage apoptosis.Our study provides evidence that galectins distinctively modulate central monocyte/macrophage function. By inhibiting T-cell function via macrophage priming, we show that galectins link the innate and adaptive immune systems and provide new insights into the action of sugar-binding proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-103
Number of pages7
JournalCellular Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Galectins
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Macrophages
  • Monocytes
  • T cells


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