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Hillenmayer, Anna; Wertheimer, Christian M.; Geerlof, Arie; Eibl, Kirsten H.; Priglinger, Siegfried; Priglinger, Claudia; Ohlmann, Andreas (2022): Galectin-1 and -3 in high amounts inhibit angiogenic properties of human retinal microvascular endothelial cells in vitro. PLOS ONE, 17 (3). e0265805. ISSN 1932-6203

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Galectin-1 and -3 are β-galactoside binding lectins with varying effects on angiogenesis and apoptosis. Since in retinal pigment epithelial cells high amounts of human recombinant galectin (hr-GAL)1 and 3 inhibit cell adhesion, migration and proliferation, we investigated if hr-GAL1 and 3 have homologous effects on human retinal microvascular endothelial cells (HRMEC) in vitro.

To investigate the effect of galectin-1 and -3 on HRMEC, proliferation, apoptosis and viability were analyzed after incubation with 30, 60 and 120 μg/ml hr-GAL1 or 3 by BrdU-ELISA, histone-DNA complex ELISA, live/dead staining and the WST-1 assay, respectively. Further on, a cell adhesion as well as tube formation assay were performed on galectin-treated HRMEC. Migration was investigated by the scratch migration assay and time-lapse microscopy. In addition, immunohistochemical staining on HRMEC for β-catenin, galectin-1 and -3 were performed and β-catenin expression was investigated by western blot analysis.

Incubation with hr-GAL1 or 3 lead to a decrease in proliferation, migration, adhesion and tube formation of HRMEC compared to the untreated controls. No toxic effects of hr-GAL1 and 3 on HRMEC were detected. Intriguingly, after treatment of HRMEC with hr-GAL1 or 3, an activation of the proangiogenic Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway was observed. However, incubation of HRMEC with hr-GAL1 or 3 drew intracellular galectin-1 and -3 out of the cells, respectively.

Exogenously added hr-GAL1 or 3 inhibit angiogenic properties of HRMEC in vitro, an effect that might be mediated via a loss of intracellular endogenous galectins.

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