Abstract: Background: Allergen avoidance, pharmacotherapy; with antihistamines, anti-leukotrienes, corticosteroids and bronchodilatorsas well as monoclonal antibodies; and allergen specific immunotherapy stand as confirmed approaches for the management of allergic disorders as asthma, allergic rhinitis/rhinoconjunctivitis, atopic dermatitis, food allergies and anaphylaxis. Galectins are members of animal lectin protein family, with binding specificity for β-galactoside sugars. These highly conserved proteins are known to be expressed in various effector cells of the immune system, exert immuno-regulatory activities, and enroll in tissue inflammation and regulation of immune homeostasis.
Objective: This review aims to explain the galectin family and influence of galectins in the immune mechanisms of allergic disorders.
Results: Galectins have multiple roles in innate and adaptive immunity. Intense research in the field of immunology related with galectins have given rise to several patent applications. Those, increasing in vivo efficacy of galectins for therapeutic applications, utilizing galectins for immune stimulation and prolongation of immune responses, utilization of them as disease markers are pioneers. As immune cells can be targeted by galectins, cells containing these molecules can be used for immune intervention. Regulation of cytokine productions by immune cells as IL-1β and IL-10 as well as dendritic cell functions by galectins may be efficient in limitation of some immune-mediated disorders.
Conclusion: Taken all together, better learning of galectin biology together with detailed revealing of galectin-immune system interactions have great potential for immune interventions targeting allergy-related disorders.
Keywords: Allergy, asthma, atopy, β-galactoside sugars, galectin, regulatory T cells, T helper cells.