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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2010 May;298(5):R1143-55. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00808.2009. Epub 2010 Feb 17.

Connexins and the kidney.

Author information

1
Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, University of Southern California, 1501 San Pablo St., Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.

Abstract

Connexins (Cxs) are widely-expressed proteins that form gap junctions in most organs, including the kidney. In the renal vasculature, Cx37, Cx40, Cx43, and Cx45 are expressed, with predominant expression of Cx40 in the endothelial cells and Cx45 in the vascular smooth muscle cells. In the tubules, there is morphological evidence for the presence of gap junction plaques only in the proximal tubules. In the distal nephron, Cx30, Cx30.3, and Cx37 are expressed, but it is not known whether they form gap junctions connecting neighboring cells or whether they primarily act as hemichannels. As in other systems, the major function of Cxs in the kidney appears to be intercellular communication, although they may also form hemichannels that allow cellular secretion of large signaling molecules. Renal Cxs facilitate vascular conduction, juxtaglomerular apparatus calcium signaling, and tubular purinergic signaling. Accordingly, current evidence points to roles for these Cxs in several important regulatory mechanisms in the kidney, including the renin angiotensin system, tubuloglomerular feedback, and salt and water reabsorption. At the systemic level, renal Cxs may help regulate blood pressure and may be involved in hypertension and diabetes.

PMID:
20164205
PMCID:
PMC2867516
DOI:
10.1152/ajpregu.00808.2009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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