Galectin-3 (Gal-3) is a member of the lectin family, including 14 mammalian galectins, and has been shown to be involved in the many biological processes. In fact it has been reported to be expressed during human nephrogenesis, in the ureteric bud tips and in the medullary regions. In 11 developing human kidney the immunoexpression of Gal-3 was studied. Previously observations on Gal-3 expression in collecting ducts were confirmed and a wild variable reactivity was detected among the range from 20 to 36 weeks of gestational age considered. Between the early and late phases of gestation two phases have been identified: the first, from 20 up to 26 weeks of gestation, with a strong reactivity and the second, from 30 to 36 weeks, with a decrease in Gal-3 expression. This finding clearly indicates a major role for Gal-3 in early human nephrogenesis ending around the 30th week of gestation. In conclusion, Gal-3 apparently plays a role in kidney development at different check points, participating both to ureteric bud proliferation and to differentiation of structures originating from the metanephric mesenchyme.
Proceedings of the 9th International Workshop on Neonatology · Cagliari (Italy) · October 23rd-26th, 2013 · Learned lessons, changing practice and cutting-edge research