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Biol Cell. 2002 Nov;94(7-8):457-75.

Gap junctions and connexin expression in the normal and pathological central nervous system.

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INSERM U114, Collège de France, 11, place Marcelin Berthelot 75005, Paris, France.


Gap junctions are widely expressed in the various cell types of the central nervous system. These specialized membrane intercellular junctions provide the morphological support for direct electrical and biochemical communication between adjacent cells. This intercellular coupling is controlled by neurotransmitters and other endogenous compounds produced and released in basal as well as in pathological situations. Changes in the expression and the function of connexins are associated with number of brain pathologies and lesions suggesting that they could contribute to the expansion of brain damages. The purpose of this review is to summarize data presently available concerning gap junctions and the expression and function of connexins in different cell types of the central nervous system and to present their physiopathological relevance in three major brain dysfunctions: inflammation, epilepsy and ischemia.

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