Review of galectin-3 inhibitors in the treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis

Atef Al Attar, Ani Antaramian, Mazen Noureddin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Introduction: Galectin-3 (Gal-3) is a β-galactoside binding protein associated with many disease pathologies, including chronic inflammation and fibrogenesis. It has been implicated in the disease severity of NASH, although its precise role is unknown. Inhibition of Gal-3 has shown to improve and prevent fibrosis progression and has now reached phase III clinical trial in NASH patients. Areas covered: This discusses the role of Gal-3 in NASH. It brings together the current findings of Gal-3 in NASH and hepatic fibrosis by analyzing recent data from animal model studies and clinical trials. Expert opinion: Gal-3 inhibitors, in particular, Belapectin (GR-MD-02), have shown promising results for NASH with advanced fibrosis. In a phase 2 trial, Belapectin did not meet the primary endpoint. However, a sub-analysis of Belapectin among a separate group of patients without esophageal varices showed 2 mg/kg of GR-MD-02 reduced HVPG and the development of new varices. A subsequent study is under way, aiming to replicate the positive findings in phase 2 and demonstrate greater efficacy. If Belapectin is shown to be effective, it will be coupled with other drugs that target steatohepatitis to maximize efficacy and disease reversal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-464
Number of pages8
JournalExpert Review of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • fibrosis
  • Fibrosis
  • inflammation
  • liver stiffness
  • nafld

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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