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Respir Physiol. 2001 Dec;129(1-2):101-21.

Localization of connexin26 and connexin32 in putative CO(2)-chemosensitive brainstem regions in rat.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, State University of New York, Basic Science Tower, Health SC. Center, Level 6, Rm. 140, Stony Brook, NY 11794-8661, USA. icsolomon@physiology.pnb.sunysb.edu


Recent studies have suggested that cell-to-cell coupling, which occurs via gap junctions, may play a role in CO(2) chemoreception. Here, we used immunoblot and immunohistochemical analyses to investigate the presence, distribution, and cellular localization of the gap junction proteins connexin26 (Cx26) and connexin32 (Cx32) in putative CO(2)-chemosensitive brainstem regions in both neonatal and adult rats. Immunoblot analyses revealed that both Cx subtypes were expressed in putative CO(2)-chemosensitive brainstem regions; however, regional differences in expression were observed. Immunohistochemical experiments confirmed Cx expression in each of the putative CO(2)-chemosensitive brainstem regions, and further demonstrated that Cx26 and Cx32 were found in neurons and Cx26 was also found in astrocytes in these regions. Thus, our findings suggest the potential for gap junctional communication in these regions in both neonatal and adult rats. We propose that the gap junction proteins Cx26 and Cx32, at least in part, form the neuroanatomical substrate for this gap junctional communication, which is hypothesized to play a role in central CO(2) chemoreception.

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