Connexins are a family of gap junction proteins widely distributed in human organs and tissues.
Gap junctions are organized systems of intercellular protein channels that allow the exchange of
ions, chemical signals, and energy substrates between two adjacent cells. Connexin43 (Cx43) is the most
abundant isoform of connexins in the heart which play an important role in myocardium disease. Numerous
studies have shown that Cx43 was involved in tumor migration and invasion by mediating gap
junctions between tumor cells and normal cells. Changes in the expression and distribution of Cx43 contribute
to heart disease and cancer. This review discusses current knowledge on the functional and structural
abnormalities in Cx43 associated with heart disease and cancer, aiming to highlight the importance
of this connexin as an emerging therapeutic target. Here, the current knowledge on the pharmacology of
Gap Junction Channels and Hemichannels were also summarized. Finally, we propose that these knowledges
can be exploited to identify new diagnostic and effective therapeutic approaches for ischemic
heart disease and cancer.
Keywords: Connexin43, cancer, heart, ischemic, molecular imaging, myocardium disease.
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