Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Serum galectin-9 levels are elevated in the patients with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease

Yuko Kurose1, Jun Wada1*, Motoko Kanzaki1, Sanae Teshigawara1, Atsuko Nakatsuka1, Kazutoshi Murakami1, Kentaro Inoue1, Takahiro Terami1, Akihiro Katayama1, Mayu Watanabe1, Chigusa Higuchi1, Jun Eguchi1, Nobuyuki Miyatake2 and Hirofumi Makino1

Author affiliations

1 Department of Medicine and Clinical Science, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama, Japan

2 Department of Hygiene, Faculty of Medicine, Kagawa University, Kagawa, Japan

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Nephrology 2013, 14:23  doi:10.1186/1471-2369-14-23

Published: 22 January 2013



Galectin-9 (Gal-9) induces apoptosis in activated T helper 1 (TH1) cells as a ligand for T cell immunoglobulin mucin-3 (Tim-3). Gal-9 also inhibits the G1 phase cell cycle arrest and hypertrophy in db/db mice, the hallmark of early diabetic nephropathy, by reversing the high glucose-induced up-regulation of cyclin dependent kinase inhibitors such as p27Kip1 and p21Cip1.


We investigated the serum levels of Gal-9 in the patients with type 2 diabetes and various stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD) (n=182).


Serum Gal-9 levels in the patients with type 2 diabetes were 131.9 ± 105.4 pg/ml and Log10Gal-9 levels significantly and positively correlated with age (r=0.227, p=0.002), creatinine (r=0.175, p=0.018), urea nitrogen (r=0.162, p=0.028) and osmotic pressure (r=0.187, p=0.014) and negatively correlated with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) (r=−0.188, p=0.011). Log10Gal-9 levels increased along with the progression of GFR categories of G1 to G4, and they were statistically significant by Jonckheere-Terpstra test (p=0.012). Log10Gal-9 levels remained similar levels in albuminuria stages of A1 to A3.


The elevation of serum Gal-9 in the patients with type 2 diabetes is closely linked to GFR and they may be related to the alteration of the immune response and inflammation of the patients with type 2 diabetes and CKD.

Type 2 diabetes; Glomerular filtration; Inflammation; Kidney disease; Nephropathy