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Connexin 30 is expressed in a subtype of mouse brain pericytes

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Pericytes are mural cells of blood microvessels which play a crucial role at the neurovascular interface of the central nervous system. They are involved in the regulation of blood–brain barrier integrity, angiogenesis, clearance of toxic metabolites, capillary hemodynamic responses, and neuroinflammation, and they demonstrate stem cell activity. Morphological and molecular studies to characterize brain pericytes recently pointed out some heterogeneity in pericyte population. Nevertheless, a clear definition of pericyte subtypes is still lacking. Here, we demonstrate that a fraction of brain pericytes express Connexin 30 (Cx30), a gap junction protein, which, in the brain parenchyma, was thought to be exclusively found in astrocytes. Cx30 could thus be a candidate protein in the composition of the gap junction channels already described between endothelial cells and pericytes. It could also form hemichannels or acts in a channel-independent manner to regulate pericyte morphology, as already observed in astrocytes. Altogether, our results suggest that Cx30 defines a novel brain pericyte subtype.

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We are grateful to Annette Koulakoff for providing us with Cx30−/− mice. We thank Glenn Dallerac, Julien Moulard, Pascal Ezan, and Philippe Mailly for technical help.

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NM, AG, ACB, and NR performed experiments; MCS designed the study and wrote the article.

Correspondence to Martine Cohen-Salmon.

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Mazaré, N., Gilbert, A., Boulay, A. et al. Connexin 30 is expressed in a subtype of mouse brain pericytes. Brain Struct Funct 223, 1017–1024 (2018).

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  • Pericyte
  • Brain vessel
  • Neurovascular unit
  • Connexin 30
  • Gap junction