CD206-positive myeloid cells bind galectin-9 and promote a tumor-supportive microenvironment

Elizabeth Ann L. Enninga, Kyriakos Chatzopoulos, John T. Butterfield, Shari L. Sutor, Alexey A. Leontovich, Wendy K. Nevala, Thomas J. Flotte, Svetomir N. Markovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


In patients with metastatic melanoma, high blood levels of galectin-9 are correlated with worse overall survival and a bias towards a Th2 inflammatory state supportive of tumor growth. Although galectin-9 signaling through TIM3 on T cells has been described, less is known about the interaction of galectin-9 with macrophages. We aimed to determine whether galectin-9 is a binding partner of CD206 on macrophages and whether the result of this interaction is tumor-supportive. It was determined that incubation of CD68+ macrophages with galectin-9 or anti-CD206 blocked target binding and that both CD206 and galectin-9 were detected by immunoprecipitation of cell lysates. CD206 and galectin-9 had a binding affinity of 2.8 × 10−7 m. Galectin-9 causes CD206+ macrophages to make significantly more FGF2 and monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP-1), but less macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC). Galectin-9 had no effect on classical monocyte subsets, but caused expansion of the non-classical populations. Lastly, there was a positive correlation between increasing numbers of CD206 macrophages and galectin-9 expression in tumors, and high levels of CD206 macrophages correlated negatively with melanoma survival. These results indicate that galectin-9 binds to CD206 on M2 macrophages, which appear to drive angiogenesis and the production of chemokines that support tumor growth and poor patient prognoses. Targeting this interaction systemically through circulating monocytes may therefore be a novel way to improve local anti-tumor effects by macrophages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-477
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • CD206
  • angiogenesis
  • galectin-9
  • macrophages
  • metastatic melanoma
  • monocytes
  • tumor microarray

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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