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Soluble galectin-3 is a strong, colonic epithelial-cell-derived, lamina propria fibroblast-stimulating factor
  1. E Lippert1,
  2. W Falk1,
  3. F Bataille2,
  4. T Kaehne3,
  5. M Naumann3,
  6. M Goeke4,
  7. H Herfarth1,
  8. J Schoelmerich1,
  9. G Rogler1
  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany
  2. 2Insitute of Pathology, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany
  3. 3Institute of Experimental Internal Medicine, Otto-von-Guericke University, Magdeburg, Germany
  4. 4Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endocrinology, Medizinische Hochschule, Hannover, Germany
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr G Rogler
    Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Regensburg, Regensburg 93042, Germany; gerhard.rogler{at}


Background: Colonic lamina propria fibroblasts (CLPFs) play an important role in the pathogenesis of fibrosis and strictures in Crohn’s disease.

Aim: To identify colonic epithelial cell (CEC)-derived factors that activate CLPFs.

Methods: Primary human CECs and CLPFs were isolated from control mucosa and interleukin 8 (IL8) of CLPF cultures was quantified by ELISA. Activation of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) was shown, and translocation of NF-κB was inhibited by a dominant-negative IκB-expressing adenovirus. The major CLPF-activating and IL8 inducing protein was purified using fast-performance liquid chromatography (HiPrep 16/60 Sephacryl S-200 High Resolution Column) and sodium dodecyl sulphate gel electrophoresis.

Results: A considerable increase in IL8 secretion by CLPFs cultured in CEC-conditioned media compared with that in unconditioned media (155.00 (10.00) pg/µg v 1.434 (0.695) pg/µg) was found. The effect of CEC-conditioned media on CLPF IL8 secretion was NF-κB dependent. A protein or DNA array confirmed the involvement of NF-κB and activator protein-1. Purification of a candidate band isolated with the use of sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and subsequent sequencing showed soluble galectin-3 to be a strong CLPF-activating factor. Depletion of galectin-3 from conditioned media by immunoprecipitation abolished the CLPF stimulatory effect.

Conclusions: Using a classical biochemical approach, soluble galectin-3 was identified as a strong activator of CLPFs produced by CEC. Galectin-3 induced NF-κB activation and IL8 secretion in these cells and may be a target for future therapeutic approaches to reduce or avoid stricture formation.

  • CEC, colonic epithelial cell
  • CLPF, colonic lamina propria fibroblast
  • CRD, carbohydrate recognition domain
  • DMEM, Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium
  • FCS, fetal calf serum
  • FPLC, fast-performance liquid chromatography
  • IEC, intestinal epithelial cell
  • IκB, inhibitor protein κB
  • MALDI-TOF, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight
  • MOI, multiplicity of infection
  • NF-κB, nuclear factor κB
  • PBS, phosphate buffered saline
  • SDS-PAGE, sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis
  • TGF, transforming growth factor

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  • Published Online First 18 May 2006

  • Funding: This work was supported by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF (Kompetenznetz CED) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (SFB 585).

  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • The isolation of fibroblasts from biopsies and surgical specimens was approved by the University of Regensburg ethics committee.

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