Immunohistochemical Analysis of Galectins-1, -3, and -7 in Periapical Granulomas, Radicular Cysts, and Residual Radicular Cysts

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Galectins play important roles in immunoinflammatory responses, but their participation in the development of periapical lesions remains unclear. This study aimed to evaluate the expressions of galectins-1, -3, and -7 in periapical lesions, correlating them with the intensity of the inflammatory infiltrate and the pattern of the cystic epithelium.


Twenty periapical granulomas (PGs), 20 radicular cysts (RCs), and 20 residual radicular cysts (RRCs) were submitted to immunohistochemistry using anti–galectin-1, -3, and -7 antibodies. The percentage of immunopositive cells in epithelial and connective tissues was determined.


In connective tissue, PGs exhibited higher cytoplasmic/membrane expression of galectins-1 and -7 than RCs and RRCs (P < .05). There was higher nuclear expression of galectin-1 in PGs compared with RCs and RRCs (P < .05). The expression of galectins-1 and -7 in connective tissue was higher in lesions with grade III inflammation (P < .05). No significant differences in galectin-3 immunoexpression were observed for any of the parameters evaluated (P > .05). In the epithelial component, a higher nuclear expression of galectin-7 was detected in RRCs (P < .05), and a higher cytoplasmic/membrane expression of this protein was found in cysts with hyperplastic epithelium (P < .05). Positive correlations were observed between the nuclear and cytoplasmic/membrane expression of galectin-1 in connective tissue (P < .05) as well as between the nuclear and cytoplasmic/membrane expression of galectin-7 in epithelial tissue of cysts (P < .05).


Galectins-1 and -7 may play important roles in the pathogenesis of PGs, RCs, and RRCs. On the other hand, the present results suggest only a minor involvement of galectin-3 in the development of these lesions.

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