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Association of Serum Galectin-3 with the Acute Exacerbation of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Wei Feng, Xiaojuan Wu, Shaojun Li, Cui Zhai, Jian Wang, Wenhua Shi, Manxiang Li

Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, Shaanxi, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2017; 23:4612-4618

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.903472

Available online:

Published: 2017-09-26

BACKGROUND: Acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD) aggravates the overall severity in COPD patients, resulting in severe morbidity and mortality. However, there are no objective biomarkers currently available to predict the development of AECOPD. Several studies have indicated that galectin-3 (Gal-3) is involved in diseases characterized by excessive inflammatory response and fibrosis. The objective of this study was to examine the dynamic changes of Gal-3 in acute exacerbation and convalescence phases of COPD.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Serum levels of Gal-3, high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), and prohormone of brain natriuretic peptide (pro-BNP) were determined using multiplex enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits. Serum levels of Gal-3 in 44 patients with COPD were further analyzed and correlated with the parameters of lung function and the biomarkers of systemic inflammation.
RESULTS: The mean level of serum Gal-3 was significantly higher in acute exacerbation of COPD compared with the level in COPD convalescence phase (32.10±9.83 versus 29.02±8.68 ng/mL, p<0.01). Serum levels of Gal-3 positively correlated with hsCRP (r=0.354, p=0.018 for total patients) and pro-BNP (r=0.319, p=0.035 for total patients) in AECOPD. In addition, the level of Gal-3 was the highest in the current smoker group, and the lowest in the never-smoker group in either the acute exacerbation phase (33.91±3.55 versus 29.12±11.73 ng/mL, p=0.036) or the convalescence phase (30.94±3.40 versus 27.76±9.68 ng/mL, p=0.045) of COPD.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicated that serum Gal-3 is increased in AECOPD patients, which is also positively associated with systemic inflammation and smoking in patients with COPD, suggesting that Gal-3 might be a valuable biomarker for AECOPD.

Keywords: Biological Markers, Galectin 3, Inflammation, Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive