Dermatological Implications of Galectin-3 in Circulation: An Evaluation From the Perspective of Patients With Differential Manifestations of Post–Kala-Azar Dermal Leishmaniasis

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Galectin-3, a β-galactoside–binding lectin, has been implicated in vast repertoire of inflammatory and immunomodulatory processes including skin diseases. However, galectin-3 has not been comprehensively studied in infectious diseases. This study emphasizes on fascinating aspects of galectin-3 expression in dermal infection by studying post–kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL), an intracellular infection caused by Leishmania donovani. Indian PKDL is a well-recognized parasitic dermatosis, with a high risk of anthroponotic transmission of L. donovani in causing leishmaniasis. This study aims to investigate the levels of galectin-3 and galectin-3–binding site expression in circulation of different forms of Indian patients with PKDL. Thirty-seven confirmed untreated PKDL patients, comprising 20 polymorphic and 17 macular PKDL manifestations, were evaluated for the levels of sera galectin-3 with respect to 28 age- and sex-matched healthy controls from endemic areas. Result shows a significant increment (P < 0.001) in circulatory galectin-3 levels in PKDL variants as compared to healthy controls. In addition, there were heightened levels of galectin-3 and galectin-3–binding sites on cellular infiltrates on lesional sites. Furthermore, there was a positive correlation between frequencies of mononuclear cells and galectin-3 during microcirculation in lesions. Data were well corroborated with positive correlation of IL-10 and IFN-γ with sera galectin-3 levels. Moreover, flow cytometry demonstrated the enhanced expression levels of the galectin-3–binding site in circulation in patients with PKDL as compared to healthy controls. Taken together, elevated levels of galectin-3 reflect its involvement in PKDL pathogenesis.

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