Connexin abundance in resistance vessels from the renal microcirculation in normo- and hypertensive rats

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Braunstein TH, Sorensen CM, Holstein-Rathlou N-H. Connexin abundance in resistance vessels from the renal microcirculation in normo- and hypertensive rats. APMIS 2009; 117: 268–76.

The expression of connexins in renal arterioles is believed to have a profound impact on conducted responses, regulation of arteriolar tonus and renal blood flow. We have previously shown that in renal preglomerular arterioles, conducted vasomotor responses are 40% greater in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) than in normotensive Sprague–Dawley (SD) rats. Because conducted vasomotor responses depend on the cell–cell communication mediated through gap junctions, we hypothesized that the increased magnitude of conducted vasomotor response in SHR is associated with an increased amount of connexins in renal arterioles. To test this hypothesis, the amount of connexin 37 (Cx37), Cx40 and Cx43 was assessed in renal arterioles from normo- and hypertensive rats using quantitative immunofluorescence laser confocal miscroscopy. To account for differences in genetic background, we included both normotensive Wistar–Kyoto (WKY) and SD rats in the study. In all three strains of rats, and for all three isoforms, the expression of connexins was predominantly confined to the endothelial cells. We found a significantly increased abundance (240 ± 17.6%, p<0.05) of Cx37 in arterioles from WKY compared with SD and SHR. This high abundance of Cx37 was not related to blood pressure because normotensive SD demonstrated a level of Cx37 similar to that of SHR. Additionally, we found no evidence for an increased abundance of Cx40 and Cx43 in renal arterioles of SHR when compared with normotensive counterparts.

Keywords: Gap junctions; endothelium; hypertension; renal arterioles; vasomotor responses

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Danish National Research Foundation Center for Cardiac Arrhythmia Research, Division of Renal and Microvascular Research, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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