Hypertension Differentially Affects the Expression of the Gap Junction Protein Connexin43 in Cardiac Myocytes and Aortic Smooth Muscle Cells
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Electrical and mechanical coupling of myocytes in heart and of smooth muscle cells in the aortic wall is thought to be mediated by intercellular channels aggregated at gap junctions. Connexin43 (Cx43) is one of the predominant membrane proteins forming junctional channels in the cardiovascular system. This study was undertaken to assess its expression during experimental hypertension. Rats were made hypertensive by clipping one renal artery (two-kidney, one-clip renal hypertension) or by administering deoxycorticosterone and salt (DOCA-salt hypertension). After four weeks, rats from both models showed a similar increase in intra-arterial mean blood pressure, as well as in the thickness of both aorta and heart walls. Northern blot analysis showed that, compared to controls, hypertensive rats expressed twice more Cx43 in aorta, but not in heart. These results suggest that localized mechanical forces induced by hypertension are major tissue-specific regulators of Cx43 expression.
KeywordsRight Ventricule Aortic Wall Cx43 Expression Cx43 Gene Intercellular Channel
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