Vol 92, No 10 (2021)
Review paper
Published online: 2021-09-24

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The role of galectins in obstetrics with particular emphasis on premature preterm rupture of membranes

Dorota G. Kolanowska1, Aleksy Swietlicki1, Krzysztof Drews1, Agnieszka Seremak-Mrozikiewicz1
Pubmed: 34747001
Ginekol Pol 2021;92(10):731-734.


Premature rupture of membranes (pPROM) affects about 4% of pregnancies and remains the main cause of preterm delivery (PTD). We currently lack a method for screening patients at high risk of pPROM as well as causal treatment for this yet not fully understood pathology of pregnancy. Promising, potential markers are proteins from a family of lectins-galectins. To date, 13 subtypes have been identified in humans. Particular galectins inhibit the mother’s immune response to the fetus, thus enabling the maintenance of pregnancy and delivering at term. So far, the role of some galectins has been proven in relation to early pregnancy complications, hypertension and preeclampsia, fetal growth disturbances (including fetuses small for gestational age, fetal growth restriction and macrosomia) and even in physiological processes which occur during healthy pregnancy. In reference to pPROM galectins seem to be linked to pathomechanisms leading to weakening of the structure of membranes and in result their rupture. Examination of galectins appears to be crucial for understanding certain pathologies of pregnancy and gives hope for the effective identification of risk groups and future causal treatment.

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