Objectives: Clinical studies have confirmed that galectin-3 (Gal-3) levels are significantly elevated in periodontitis patients. The present study aimed to explore the effects of Gal-3 inhibition on periodontal inflammation in vitro and in vivo. Methods: Human gingival fibroblasts (HGFs) with or without Gal-3 knockdown were stimulated by lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and a ligation-induced mouse periodontitis model treated with a Gal-3 inhibitor was established. Hematoxylin–eosin (H&E) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining were used to evaluate Gal-3 levels in gingival tissues. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were used to detect Gal-3, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, and C-C motif ligand 2 (CCL2) expression. Immunofluorescence and western blotting were used to detect NF-κB and ERK signaling pathway activation. Micro-computed tomography was used to analyse the degree of bone loss. Results: Gal-3 was significantly up-regulated in inflamed gingival tissues and LPS-induced HGFs. Gal-3 knockdown markedly decreased LPS-induced IL-6, IL-8, and CCL2 expression and blocked NF-κB and ERK signaling pathway activation in HGFs. In the mouse periodontitis model, Gal-3 inhibition significantly alleviated IL-1β and IL-6 infiltration in gingival tissue and mitigated periodontal bone loss. Conclusions: Gal-3 inhibition notably alleviated periodontal inflammation partly through blocking NF-κB and ERK signaling pathway activation.

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