Connexins in the control of vasomotor function.
Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2018 Jun 2:e13108. doi: 10.1111/apha.13108. [Epub ahead of print]
|Authors/Editors:||Pogoda K, Kameritsch P, Mannell H, Pohl U.|
Vascular endothelial cells, as well as smooth muscle cells, show heterogeneity with regard to their receptor expression and reactivity. For the vascular wall to act as a functional unit, the various cells' responses require integration. Such an integration is not only required for a homogeneous response of the vascular wall, but also for the vasomotor behaviour of consecutive segments of the microvascular arteriolar tree. Since flow resistances of individual sections are connected in series, sections require synchronization and coordination manner to allow effective changes of conductivity and blood flow. A prerequisite for the local coordination of individual vascular cells and different sections of an arteriolar tree is intercellular communication. Connexins are involved in a dual manner in this coordination. 1) By forming gap junctions between cells, they allow an intercellular exchange of signalling molecules and electrical currents. Especially the spread of electrical currents allows for coordination of cell responses over longer distances. 2) Connexins are able to interact with other proteins to form signalling complexes. In this way, they can modulate and integrate individual cell's responses also in a channel-independent manner. This review outlines mechanisms allowing the vascular connexins to exert their coordinating function and to regulate the vasomotor reactions of blood vessels both locally, and in vascular networks. Wherever possible, we focus on the vasomotor behaviour of small vessels and arterioles which are the main vessels determining vascular resistance, blood pressure and local blood flow This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.