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Molecular medicine reports

Galectin‑3 induces the phenotype transformation of human vascular smooth muscle cells via the canonical Wnt signaling.


PMID 28393190

Abstract

Galectin‑3, a galactoside‑binding protein, is highly expressed in carotid plaques and plays an important role in the atherosclerotic lesions. The phenotype transformation of vascular smooth muscle cells is the basic pathological change of atherosclerosis. This study investigated the effects of exogenous galectin‑3 on the function and phenotype transformation of human umbilical vascular smooth muscle cells (HUSMC). In this study, we treated vascular smooth muscle cells with recombinant galectin‑3 and tested its effect on cell proliferation, migration, and phenotype transformation. Our results showed that exogenous galectin‑3 promoted human umbilical vascular smooth muscle cells (HUSMC) proliferation and migration. Exogenous galectin‑3 enhanced the expression of the smooth muscle synthetic protein osteopontin, smooth muscle contractile proteins calponin and smooth muscle α‑actin. The galectin‑3‑induced change in cell phenotype was associated with the activation of canonical Wnt signaling, as measured by β‑catenin axin2 and cyclin D1 expression. β‑catenin inhibition by small interfering RNA reduced cell proliferation, decreased cell motility, and blocked galectin‑3‑induced phenotype transformation of human umbilical vascular smooth muscle cells (HUSMC). Our data suggest galectin‑3 promotes the phenotype transformation of human umbilical vascular smooth muscle cells (HUSMC) by activating Wnt/β‑catenin signaling pathway.