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Stem Cells Int. 2012;2012:607161. doi: 10.1155/2012/607161. Epub 2012 Jun 26.

Human amniotic fluid cells form functional gap junctions with cortical cells.

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1
Neurogenesis and Brain Repair Group, Neurobiology Program, Institute for Biological Sciences, National Research Council Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1A 0R6.

Abstract

The usage of stem cells is a promising strategy for the repair of damaged tissue in the injured brain. Recently, amniotic fluid (AF) cells have received a lot of attention as an alternative source of stem cells for cell-based therapies. However, the success of this approach relies significantly on proper interactions between graft and host tissue. In particular, the reestablishment of functional brain networks requires formation of gap junctions, as a key step to provide sufficient intercellular communication. In this study, we show that AF cells express high levels of CX43 (GJA1) and are able to establish functional gap junctions with cortical cultures. Furthermore, we report an induction of Cx43 expression in astrocytes following injury to the mouse motor cortex and demonstrate for the first time CX43 expression at the interface between implanted AF cells and host brain cells. These findings suggest that CX43-mediated intercellular communication between AF cells and cortical astrocytes may contribute to the reconstruction of damaged tissue by mediating modulatory, homeostatic, and protective factors in the injured brain and hence warrants further investigation.

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