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J Cell Mol Med. 2017 Oct;21(10):2563-2572. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.13177. Epub 2017 May 9.

Inhibition of Cx43 mediates protective effects on hypoxic/reoxygenated human neuroblastoma cells.

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Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences, Physiology Section, University of Catania, Catania, Italy.
Department of Drug Sciences, University of Catania, Catania, Italy.
IOM Ricerca, Viagrande, Italy.
Institute Neurological Sciences, National Research Council, Catania, Italy.


Olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs), a special population of glial cells, are able to synthesise several trophic factors exerting a neuroprotective action and promoting growth and functional recovery in both in vitro and in vivo models. In the present work, we investigated the neuroprotective effects of OEC-conditioned medium (OEC-CM) on two different human neuron-like cell lines, SH-SY5Y and SK-N-SH (neuroblastoma cell lines), under normoxic and hypoxic conditions. In addition, we also focused our attention on the role of connexins (Cxs) in the neuroprotective processes. Our results confirmed OEC-CM mediated neuroprotection as shown by cell adherence, proliferation and cellular viability analyses. Reduced connexin 43 (Cx43) levels in OEC-CM compared to unconditioned cells in hypoxic conditions prompted us to investigate the role of Cx43-Gap junctions (GJs) and Cx43-hemichannels (HCs) in hypoxic/reoxygenation injury using carbenoxolone (non-selective GJ inhibitor), ioxynil octanoato (selective Cx43-GJ inhibitor) and Gap19 (selective Cx43-HC inhibitor). We found that Cx43-GJ and Cx43-HC inhibitors are able to protect SH-SY5Y and allow to these cultures to overcome the injury. Our findings support the hypothesis that both OEC-CM and the inhibition of Cx43-GJs and Cx43-HCs offer a neuroprotective effect by reducing Cx43-mediated cell-to-cell and cell-to-extracellular environment communications.


connexin 43; gap junctions; growth factors; neuroprotection; olfactory glia

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