Gap junctions (GJs) are highly specialized membrane structures which allow the passage of small molecules and ions between neighboring cells. Intercellular communication via GJs is a crucial mechanism that plays a central role in several pathologies. This review focuses on: i) the role of connexins (Cxs, transmembrane proteins that form GJ channels) in the pathophysiology of neuronal injury after brain hypoxia-ischemia, ii) the opposing theories regarding whether Cxs are protective agents or contribute to the spread of damage, and iii) recent patent applications and registrations showing Cxs as key targets in regulating GJ-mediated intercellular communication.
Keywords: Gap junction, connexins, nervous system, neurons, injury, hypoxia, ischemia, knock out, knock down, blockers
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