Decreased intercellular communication and connexin expression in mouse aortic endothelium during lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation

Alexander M. Simon, Andrea R. McWhorter, Hwu Dau Rw Chen, Charity L. Jackson, Yves Ouellette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations


The role of gap junctional intercellular communication during inflammatory processes is not well understood. In particular, changes in the expression and function of vascular endothelial connexins (gap junction proteins) in response to inflammatory agents has not been fully investigated. In this study, we used intercellular dye transfer methods to assess interendothelial communication in aortic segments isolated from mice treated with or without intraperitoneal lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a potent inflammatory mediator. LPS treatment resulted in a 49% decrease in endothelial dye coupling 18 h after injection. Western blots indicated that LPS treatment also caused a reduction in endothelial connexin40 (Cx40) levels to 33% of control levels. Connexin37 (Cx37) levels decreased only slightly after LPS treatment to 79% of control levels. We also examined endothelial communication in aortic segments isolated from Cx37 -/- and Cx40-/- mice. LPS treatment caused a significantly greater decrease in dye transfer in endothelium isolated from Cx37 -/- animals compared with endothelium from Cx40-/- animals (71 vs. 26% decrease). LPS injection caused a reduction in Cx40 levels in Cx37-/- endothelium, whereas LPS actually increased Cx37 levels in Cx40-/- endothelium. These results suggest that LPS mediates changes in endothelial gap junction-mediated communication, at least in part, through modulation of Cx40 and Cx37 levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-333
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Vascular Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 27 2004



  • Aorta
  • Connexin37
  • Connexin40
  • Endothelium
  • Endotoxin
  • Gap junction
  • Intercellular communication
  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • Sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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