Galectin-1 in secondary alveolar septae of neonatal mouse lung

Jennifer J. Foster, Kelli L. Goss, Caroline L.S. George, Peter J. Bangsund, Jeanne M. Snyder

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21 Scopus citations


In mice, alveolarization occurs during postnatal days 4 through 12, when secondary alveolar septae create thin-walled alveoli in the distal lung. We hypothesized that genes predominantly expressed in newly forming secondary alveolar septae influence the process of alveolarization. To address this hypothesis, tips of secondary alveolar septae were isolated from sections of postnatal day 6 mouse lung tissue using laser capture microdissection. Total RNA was isolated and amplified from the dissected alveolar septal tips and from intact postnatal day 6 lung tissue. Gene expression in the samples was characterized using Affymetrix mouse U74AN2 GeneChips. Galectin-1 was an abundantly expressed transcript that was enriched in the alveolar septal tips compared with levels in the whole lung tissue. Galectins are β-galactoside-binding proteins involved in the regulation of cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis in fibroblasts, muscle cells and endothelial cells, cell types that are present in the alveolar wall. Immunostaining in postnatal day 6 lung tissue confirmed that galectin-1 protein is concentrated in the tips of secondary alveolar septae, predominantly in myofibroblasts. Fibroblasts isolated from day 6 neonatal mouse lung tissue contained galectin-1 protein. Real-time PCR demonstrated that galectin-1 mRNA levels in mouse lung tissue peak at postnatal day 6. Immunoblot analysis confirmed that peak levels of lung galectin-1 protein are found at postnatal days 6 to 12. The increased expression of galectin-1 at the site and time of ongoing alveolarization in the newborn mouse is suggestive that galectin-1 may play an important role in this critical aspect of lung development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L1142-L1149
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Alveolarization
  • Laser capture microscopy
  • Lung development
  • Microarray
  • Myofibroblasts


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