Author(s): Ho JE, , Gao W, Levy D, , , Ho JE, , Gao W, Levy D, ,
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Abstract RATIONALE: Galectin-3 (Gal-3) has been implicated in the development of pulmonary fibrosis in experimental studies, and Gal-3 levels have been found to be elevated in small studies of human pulmonary fibrosis. OBJECTIVES: We sought to study whether circulating Gal-3 concentrations are elevated early in the course of pulmonary fibrosis. METHODS: We examined 2,596 Framingham Heart Study participants (mean age, 57 yr; 54\% women; 14\% current smokers) who underwent Gal-3 assessment using plasma samples and pulmonary function testing between 1995 and 1998. Of this sample, 1,148 underwent subsequent volumetric chest computed tomography. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Higher Gal-3 concentrations were associated with lower lung volumes (1.4\% decrease in percentage of predicted FEV1 per 1 SD increase in log Gal-3; 95\% confidence interval [CI], 0.8-2.0\%; P < 0.001; 1.2\% decrease in percentage of predicted FVC; 95\% CI, 0.6-1.8\%; P < 0.001) and decreased diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (2.1\% decrease; 95\% CI, 1.3-2.9\%; P < 0.001). These associations remained significant after multivariable adjustment (P ≤ 0.008 for all). Compared with the lowest quartile, participants in the highest Gal-3 quartile were more than twice as likely to have interstitial lung abnormalities visualized by computed tomography (multivariable-adjusted odds ratio, 2.67; 95\% CI, 1.49-4.76; P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Elevated Gal-3 concentrations are associated with interstitial lung abnormalities coupled with a restrictive pattern, including decreased lung volumes and altered gas exchange. These findings suggest a potential role for Gal-3 in early stages of pulmonary fibrosis.
This article was published in Am J Respir Crit Care Med
and referenced in Clinical & Medical Biochemistry