Galectins-1 and-3 Increase in Equine Post-traumatic Osteoarthritis. Academic Article uri icon


  • Galectins are potent regulators of cell adhesion, growth and apoptosis in diverse cell types, including chondrocytes and synovial fibroblasts. Elevations in synovial fluid galectin-3 have been observed in rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and experimental inflammatory arthritis in animal models, whereas galectin-1 is thought to be protective. Less is known about galectins-1 and-3 in osteoarthritis (OA). Therefore, the purpose of this study was: (1) to determine whether galectin-1 and-3 synovial fluid concentrations and synovial membrane and cartilage histochemical staining were altered following osteochondral injury in an experimental equine osteoarthritis (OA) model and (2) to measure galectin-1 and-3 mRNA expression and synovial fluid concentrations in naturally occurring equine carpal OA. Synovial fluid galectin-1 and-3 concentrations were quantified using custom ELISAs in two research horse cohorts undergoing experimental OA induction (n = 5 and 4) and in a cohort of horses with naturally occurring carpal OA (n = 57). Galectin mRNA expression in synovial membrane and cartilage tissue obtained from carpal joints of horses with naturally occurring OA was measured using RT-qPCR, and galectin immunostaining was assessed in synovial membrane and osteochondral tissues in the experimental model (n = 5). Synovial fluid galectin-1 and-3 concentrations increased following experimental carpal osteochondral fragmentation. Cartilage galectin-1 mRNA expression increased with OA severity in naturally occurring disease. The superficial zone of healthy articular cartilage stained intensely for galectin-3 in sham-operated joints, whereas galectin-1 staining was nearly absent. Chondrocyte galectin-1 and-3 immunoreactivity increased following cartilage injury, particularly in galectin-1 positive chondrones. Galectins-1 and-3 are present in healthy equine synovial fluid and increase following post-traumatic OA. Healthy superficial zone chondrocytes express galectin-3, whereas galectin-1 chondrocyte staining is limited predominantly to chondrones and injured cartilage. Further work is needed to clarify the functions of galectins-1 and-3 in healthy and OA joints.

published proceedings

  • Front Vet Sci

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Reesink, H. L., Nixon, A. J., Su, J., Liu, S., Sutton, R. M., Mann, S., Watts, A. E., & Peterson, R. P.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Reesink, Heidi L||Nixon, Alan J||Su, Jin||Liu, Sherry||Sutton, Ryan M||Mann, Sabine||Watts, Ashlee E||Peterson, Ryan P

publication date

  • January 2018