Circulating Galectin-3 Levels Are Persistently Elevated After Heart Transplantation and Are Associated With Renal Dysfunction

Avishay Grupper, Jose Nativi-Nicolau, Joseph J. Maleszewski, Jennifer R. Geske, Walter K. Kremers, Brooks S. Edwards, Sudhir S. Kushwaha, Naveen L. Pereira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objectives This study evaluated changes in serum levels of galectin (Gal)-3 before and after heart transplantation (HTx) and assessed the role of pre-HTx Gal-3 as a biomarker for post-HTx outcomes. Background Gal-3 is a novel biomarker that reflects cardiac remodeling and fibrosis. Elevated serum Gal-3 levels are associated with poor prognosis in heart failure patients. Whether Gal-3 levels change following HTx and the significance of post-HTx outcomes are unknown. Methods Serum Gal-3 levels were measured in 62 patients at 118 days (Interquartile Range [IQR]: 23 to 798 days) before and 365 days (IQR: 54 to 767 days) post HTx. Cardiac tissue taken during routine post-HTx endomyocardial biopsy was evaluated to assess the correlation between tissue Gal-3 staining and serum Gal-3 levels and with the presence of myocardial hypertrophy and fibrosis. Results Serum Gal-3 levels remained significantly elevated (>17.8 ng/ml) in 35 patients (56%) post HTx. There was a significant inverse correlation between Gal-3 levels and glomerular filtration rate measured before and after HTx (p > 0.005). There was no association between Gal-3 serum level and Gal-3 staining of myocardial tissue or with the presence of myocyte hypertrophy and interstitial fibrosis post HTx. Elevated pre-HTx Gal-3 levels were associated with reduced post-HTx exercise capacity, but this association was not significant after adjustment for age, body mass index, and glomerular filtration rate. Conclusions This is the first study to demonstrate the fact that Gal-3 levels remain elevated in the majority of patients despite HTx and is associated with renal dysfunction. Our findings suggest Gal-3 is a systemic rather than cardiac-specific biomarker.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)847-856
Number of pages10
JournalJACC: Heart Failure
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • exercise capacity
  • galectin-3
  • heart failure
  • heart transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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