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Stem Cells International
Volume 2017, Article ID 3282656, 13 pages
Research Article

Galectin-3 Knockdown Impairs Survival, Migration, and Immunomodulatory Actions of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells in a Mouse Model of Chagas Disease Cardiomyopathy

1Gonçalo Moniz Institute, FIOCRUZ, Salvador, BA, Brazil
2Center for Biotechnology and Cell Therapy, São Rafael Hospital, Salvador, BA, Brazil

Correspondence should be addressed to Milena Botelho Pereira Soares; rb.zurcoif.aihab@anelim

Received 10 February 2017; Revised 27 May 2017; Accepted 5 June 2017; Published 10 July 2017

Academic Editor: Luc van der Laan

Copyright © 2017 Bruno Solano de Freitas Souza et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Therapies based on transplantation of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) hold promise for the management of inflammatory disorders. In chronic Chagas disease cardiomyopathy (CCC), caused by chronic infection with Trypanosoma cruzi, the exacerbated immune response plays a critical pathophysiological role and can be modulated by MSC. Here, we investigated the role of galectin-3 (Gal-3), a beta-galactoside-binding lectin with several actions on immune responses and repair process, on the immunomodulatory potential of MSC. Gal-3 knockdown in MSC did not affect the immunophenotype or differentiation potential. However, Gal-3 knockdown MSC showed decreased proliferation, survival, and migration. Additionally, when injected intraperitoneally into mice with CCC, Gal-3 knockdown MSC showed impaired migration in vivo. Transplantation of control MSC into mice with CCC caused a suppression of cardiac inflammation and fibrosis, reducing expression levels of CD45, TNFα, IL-1β, IL-6, IFNγ, and type I collagen. In contrast, Gal-3 knockdown MSC were unable to suppress the immune response or collagen synthesis in the hearts of mice with CCC. Finally, infection with T. cruzi demonstrated parasite survival in wild-type but not in Gal-3 knockdown MSC. These findings demonstrate that Gal-3 plays a critical role in MSC survival, proliferation, migration, and therapeutic potential in CCC.