The renal endothelium plays a critical role in kidney physiopathology as it is implicated in various processes
such as the regulation of vasomotor tone, the control of tissue inflammation and thrombosis. Recent evidence highlights
direct implication of renal endothelial dysfunction in the progression of chronic kidney disease. Renal endothelial
dysfunction is a multifaceted process in which chemokines, cytokines, prothrombotic factors and adhesion molecules are
known to play a crucial role. Apart from paracrine cell-to-cell signaling, the role for gap junction-mediated intercellular
communication in renal physiopathology has been recently suggested. Gap junction channels are formed by the hexameric
assembly of connexins and directly connect the cytoplasm of adjacent cells. Due to their ability to regulate multiple
physiological and pathological signals connexins are currently taking an important place in the list of actors involved in
renal endothelial function and dysfunction. In this review we will focus on possible implications of connexins in the
physiopathological processes associated with renal vascular endothelium.
Keywords: Connexins, gap junctions, inflammation, renal autoregulation, renal endothelium.
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