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Eva Olga Melin, Jonatan Dereke, Maria Thunander and Magnus Hillman


Neuroinflammatory responses are implicated in depression. The aim was to explore whether depression in patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) was associated with high circulating galectin-3, controlling for metabolic variables, s-creatinine, life style factors, medication and cardiovascular complications.




Participants were T1D patients (n = 283, 56% men, age 18–59 years, diabetes duration ≥1 year). Depression was assessed by Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale-depression subscale. Blood samples, anthropometrics and blood pressure were collected, and supplemented with data from medical records and the Swedish National Diabetes Registry. Galectin-3 ≥2.562 µg/l, corresponding to the 85th percentile, was defined as high galectin-3.


Median (quartile1, quartile3) galectin-3 (µg/l) was 1.3 (0.8, 2.9) for the 30 depressed patients, and 0.9 (0.5, 1.6) for the 253 non-depressed, P = 0.009. Depression was associated with high galectin-3 in all the 283 patients (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 3.5), in the 161 men (AOR 3.4), and in the 122 women (AOR 3.9). HbA1c, s-lipids, s-creatinine, blood pressure, obesity, smoking, physical inactivity, cardiovascular complications and drugs (antihypertensive, lipid lowering, oral antidiabetic drugs and antidepressants) were not associated with high galectin-3.


This is the first study to show an association between depression and galectin-3. Depression was the only explored parameter associated with high circulating galectin-3 levels in 283 T1D patients. High galectin-3 levels might contribute to the increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular and all-cause mortality observed in persons with depression. Potentially, in the future, treatment targeting galactin-3 might improve the prognosis for patients with high galectin-3 levels.