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Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 1998 May;26(2-3):176-83.

Gap junction wiring: a 'new' principle in cell-to-cell communication in the nervous system?

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Institute of Anatomy, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstr. 31, 93052 Regensburg, Germany.


This review gives an updated excerpt of recent advances in our understanding of brain gap junctions. It starts with a brief description of the principle molecular composition of gap junctions before specific issues concerning brain tissues are addressed. The following questions and matters are subjected to a detailed analysis: First, why are there so many gap junctions in the brain? Second, what is the functional significance of the cellular diversity of brain gap junctions? Third, how do astrocytic gap junctions mediate intercellular volume transmission (IVT), and what does IVT mean for glial-neuronal interaction? Fourth, how frequent are interneuronal gap junctions; and what is their functional significance in brain development and in interrelated chemical-electrotonic transmission at mixed synapses.

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