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J Hepatol. 2000 Jan;32(1):11-8.

Development of gap junctional channels and intercellular communication in rat liver during ontogenesis.

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  • 1Third Department of Internal Medicine, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan. masaiwai@koto.kpu-m.ac.jp

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIMS:

We investigated the expression of connexin (Cx) 32 and 26 subunit proteins of the gap junction (GJ) in the rat liver during ontogenesis to clarify their roles in control of growth and differentiation, and observed their channels in association with development of gap junctional intercellular communication (GJIC).

METHODS:

The expression of Cx32 and 26 in prenatal and postnatal livers was examined by Western blot and immunofluorescence. GJ channels were investigated not only by double immunofluorescence study but also by immunogold electron microscopy. The spread of lucifer yellow 5 min after its microinjection was examined in the cultured liver tissues.

RESULTS:

1) Western blot showed the expression of both Cx from the late stage of gestation and their peak a week after birth. 2) Cx32- or 26-positive plaques were scattered on hepatocytes of the fetal liver and some of them were colocalized; both were increased just after birth. On day 7 after birth, Cx32-positive plaques were present on all hepatocytes within a lobule, and Cx26-positive plaques were distributed in the periportal area. 3) Double-immunogold electron microscopy just after birth showed that most GJ channels were homotypic type of Cx32 or 26, and that few were heterotypic. On day 7 after birth, most channels had the homotypic type of type of Cx32 in the middle and pericentral areas, and there was a heterotypic type of Cx32 and 26 in the periportal area. 4) The dye transfer of lucifer yellow showed a wider spread in the liver tissues on day 7 after birth than on day 1.

CONCLUSION:

Increased GJ formation and compatibility or incompatibility of GJ channels are closely associated with development of GJIC, and GJIC may develop at cytodifferentiation during ontogenesis.

PMID:
10673061
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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