Galectin-3 and venous thromboembolism incidence: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study

Oluwaseun E. Fashanu, Susan R. Heckbert, David Aguilar, Paul N. Jensen, Christie M. Ballantyne, Saonli Basu, Ron C. Hoogeveen, Christopher deFilippi, Mary Cushman, Aaron R. Folsom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Essentials Galectin-3, an inflammatory biomarker, is involved in murine thrombogenesis. Galectin-3–binding protein is up-regulated in microparticles from deep venous thrombosis patients compared to control patients. In this prospective epidemiological study, participants with plasma galectin-3 concentrations in the highest quintile had a greater risk of incident venous thromboembolism than did those in the lowest quintile. The association of galectin-3 and VTE was not replicated in a second prospective study, but the meta-analyzed hazard ratio still indicated a positive association. Galectin-3 is associated positively with risk of venous thromboembolism. Background: The inflammatory biomarker galectin-3 contributes to pathologic conditions such as heart failure and stimulates murine thrombogenesis. Its association with venous thromboembolism (VTE) has been sparsely studied. Objectives: To assess the prospective association of plasma galectin-3 and the LGALS3 rs4644 SNP with VTE incidence. Methods: We measured plasma galectin-3 in 9916 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study cohort in 1996-1998 and identified VTEs through 2013. Using Cox regression, we estimated the hazard ratio associating galectin-3 with incident VTE over a median of 13.9 years. Replication was sought in the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS). Results: ARIC included 21.8% blacks and 56.2% females with mean baseline age of 62.7 years. The incidence rate of VTE (n=389 events) increased across quintiles of galectin-3, with hazard ratios (95% CI) of 1 (reference), 1.13 (0.80-1.61), 1.00 (0.70-1.43), 1.36 (0.96-1.91), and 1.55 (1.09-2.19) (P-trend=.005), adjusted for age, sex, race, body mass index, diabetes status, and renal function. Results did not replicate in the CHS (124 VTE), but meta-analysis of both studies yielded a pooled hazard ratio (95% CI) for 1 SD increment in log galectin-3 of 1.10 (1.00-1.22). In ARIC, the C allele of rs4644 in the LGALS3 gene was associated with higher galectin-3 level, and in whites, with an increased rate of VTE. Conclusion: Galectin-3 levels were associated positively with VTE incidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-230
Number of pages8
JournalResearch and Practice in Thrombosis and Haemostasis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Authors. Research and Practice in Thrombosis and Haemostasis published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc on behalf of International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis.


  • Galectin-3
  • gene
  • prospective
  • thrombosis
  • venous thromboembolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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