, Volume 234, Issue 19, pp 2919–2927 | Cite as

Serum galectin-3, but not galectin-1, levels are elevated in schizophrenia: implications for the role of inflammation

  • Kosuke KajitaniEmail author
  • Kazuyuki Yanagimoto
  • Yusaku Nakabeppu
Original Investigation



Previous studies have reported that galectin-3 is involved in inflammatory processes in the central nervous system and that neuroinflammation may play a role in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. However, the link between schizophrenia and various galectins is unclear.


The objective of the present study is to determine whether galectin, a well-known lectin protein that binds to μ-galactoside, is associated with chronic schizophrenia.


Thirty-six patients with schizophrenia and 36 healthy controls participated in this study. Schizophrenia symptoms were assessed using the Brief Psychiatry Rating Scale (BPRS). Serum galectin-1 and galectin-3 levels were evaluated using ELISA and compared between the participant groups. Correlation analyses were also performed to examine the relationship between BPRS scores and each galectin level.


Serum galectin-3 levels were significantly higher in patients with schizophrenia than they were in controls (p = 0.009, d = 0.640); however, serum galectin-1 levels were not significantly different between the groups (p = 0.513). No significant correlation was identified between serum galectin-3 level and the total BPRS score; however, a significant positive correlation was found between the serum galectin-3 level and the positive symptom score of the BPRS (ρ = 0.355; p = 0.033). Additionally, a significant negative correlation was identified between serum galectin-3 levels and the negative symptom score of the BPRS (ρ = −0.387; p = 0.020).


Given the high serum levels of galectin-3 found in patients with schizophrenia compared with that in controls, these findings may support the inflammation hypothesis of schizophrenia.


Galectin-1 Galectin-3 Schizophrenia Neuroinflammation Serum Brief Psychiatry Rating Scale 



The authors thank all of the staff in the affiliated hospitals of Kyushu University (Hakomatsu Hospital, Kawazoe Hospital, and Imajuku Hospital) for recruiting the participants.

Compliance with ethical standards

This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Arts and Science, Kyushu University, Japan. Informed written consent was obtained from each participant after they were given information about the study.


This study was funded by grants from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (25870494 to K. Kajitani).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kosuke Kajitani
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Kazuyuki Yanagimoto
    • 2
  • Yusaku Nakabeppu
    • 3
  1. 1.Counseling and Health Center, Faculty of Arts and ScienceKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryHakomatsu HospitalFukuokaJapan
  3. 3.Division of Neurofunctional Genomics, Department of Immunobiology and NeuroscienceMedical Institute of Bioregulation, Kyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan

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