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J Physiol Pharmacol. 2009 Sep;60(3):63-9.

Modulation of connexin-43 by omega-3 fatty acids in the aorta of old spontaneously hypertensive rats.

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Institute for Heart Research, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovak Republic.


Hypertension alters expression of connexin-43 (Cx43) in cardiovascular system. The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (30 mg/day for 2 months) on expression of Cx43 in the aorta of 1-year-old male spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). Spatial distribution and expression of Cx43 in aortic wall of SHR and age-matched Lewis rats were determined by immunofluorescent method and Western blot. NO synthase (NOS) activity and endothelium-dependent relaxation of the aorta were measured as well. Immunofluorescent pattern of Cx43 was identified in endothelial and smooth muscle cells of the aorta of all experimental groups studied. However, local decrease in the number and intensity of fluorescent spots and reduced phosphorylation of Cx43 were observed in SHR in contrast to normotensive LEW. Omega-3 fatty acid diet increased Cx43 immunolabeling in endothelium and media of SHR comparing to untreated ones. Parallel, 3-fatty acids significantly elevated phosphorylation of Cx43 in the aorta of SHR (p<0.001). Despite the omega-3 fatty acids reduced blood pressure and stimulated aortic NOS activity in SHR, endothelium-dependent relaxation of the aorta did not significantly change. Results indicate that the aorta of old SHR might partially benefit from 3-PUFA supplementation due to increased Cx43 phosphorylation, NOS activity and decreased blood pressure.

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