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Glycoconjugate Journal

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 591–597 | Cite as

Galectin-1 is expressed by thymic epithelial cells in myasthenia gravis

  • Charlene Hafer-Macko
  • Mabel Pang
  • Jeffrey J. Seilhamer
  • Linda G. Baum
Glycoconjugate Journal

Abstract

Galectin-1, a member of a family of carbohydrate binding proteins, is synthesized by thymic epithelial cells in normal juvenile thymus, and mediates adhesion of immature T cells to thymic epithelium. Because cell adhesion molecules are proposed to play a role in the thymic hyperplasia and neoplasia seen in the autoimmune disease myasthenia gravis, we examined the expression of galectin-1 in myasthenic thymi. We detected abundant galectin-1 expression in thymic epithelial cells in 27 hyperplastic and neoplastic thymi from patients with myasthenia gravis. Primary cultures of neoplastic epithelial cells from a thymoma continued to express galectin-1, and bound immature T cells; T cell binding was inhibited by the addition of the β-galactosides lactose and thiodigalactoside, suggesting that galectin-1 on the thymoma cells and a saccharide ligand on the T cells participated in cell-cell adhesion. Expression of galectin-1 by thymic epithelial cells may play a role in the thymic pathology seen in myasthenia gravis.

Keywords

galectin-1 myasthenia gravis thymus thymoma T cell 

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Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charlene Hafer-Macko
    • 1
  • Mabel Pang
    • 2
  • Jeffrey J. Seilhamer
    • 3
  • Linda G. Baum
    • 2
  1. 1.Neuropsychiatric InstituteUCLA School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pathology and Laboratory MedicineUCLA School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Incyte PharmaceuticalsPalo AltoUSA

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