The galectin-3 gene (LGALS3) encodes a β-galactose binding lectin. LGALS3 expression is associated with neoplastic transformation and with differentiation of monocytes to macrophages. Factors involved in migration, proliferation, adhesion and differentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMC) play a major role during atherosclerosis development. Expression of the galectin-3 gene was not detected in quiescent SMC but was activated in aortas of hypercholesterolemic rabbits, in aortas of rats after balloon injury and in cultured SMC. These results suggest that galectin-3 production is involved in the developmental process of atherogenesis.
Arar, C., Gaudin, J. C., Capron, L., & Legrand, A. (1998). Galectin-3 gene (LGALS3) expression in experimental atherosclerosis and cultured smooth muscle cells. FEBS Letters, 430(3), 307–311. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0014-5793(98)00683-8