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J Cell Sci. 1994 Dec;107 ( Pt 12):3579-90.

Rapid appearance of connexin 26-positive gap junctions in centrilobular hepatocytes without induction of mRNA and protein synthesis in isolated perfused liver of female rat.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, Japan.


In the adult rat liver, the gap junction protein connexin 32 (Cx32) is evenly distributed in hepatocytes within the liver lobules, while connexin 26 (Cx26) is preferentially localized in hepatocytes in periportal zones. We report here that Cx26-positive gap junctions rapidly appear in the centrilobular hepatocytes of adult female rat livers during a 30 minute perfusion of the liver through the hepatic portal vein with a 1:1 mixture of Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium (DMEM) and oxygen transport FC-43 fluid at a physiological flow rate without any changes in the distribution of Cx32. The change in the localization of Cx26 was closely related to that of E-cadherin, and there was no significant increase in the amounts of Cx26 protein and mRNA. The appearance of Cx26 in the centrilobular hepatocytes was inhibited by treatment with cytoskeleton disruptors such as colchicine and cytochalasin B, and intracytoplasmic transport inhibitors such as brefeldin A. The liver perfusion induced the appearance of Cx26 in the centrilobular hepatocytes only in female rats. Estrogen treatment of ovariectomized rats caused the appearance of both Cx26 and E-cadherin in centrilobular hepatocytes not only in the perfused liver but also in the non-perfused liver. Our results indicate that in the rat liver: (a) the localization of Cx26 can be modulated by a post-translational mechanism; (b) E-cadherin may play an important role in the formation of gap junctions composed of Cx26; and (c) the formation of gap junctions is regulated by female steroid hormones.

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