Members of the galectin family are presently known to participate in cellular homeostasis by modulating cell growth, controlling cell cycle progression, and inducing or inhibiting apoptosis. Both intracellular and extracellular activities of galectins have been described, with the former typically independent of lectin activity, and the latter mediated by lectin activity. Galectin-1 and -3 are recognized as activators and inducers of cell stasis in extracellular capacities. Galectin-1, -7, -8, -9 and -12 are characterized as promoters or inducers of apoptosis, while galectin-3 is demonstrated as an inhibitor of apoptosis intracellularly. Localization studies of galectins have established that these proteins can segregate into multiple intracellular compartments, and the preference for segregation is dependent on the status of the cell. Localization would, therefore, likely correspond to compartmental function. While galectin-1 and -3 have been the most abundantly expressed and extensively studied, and therefore, the members best understood, expanding interest in galectins has resulted in description of new members that display more restricted expression patterns, suggesting more specific activity. Nevertheless, as demonstrated for many members, it appears that a major feature of the galectin family is the homeostatic regulation of cells.