Much of our current knowledge about the physiological and pathophysiological role of gap junctions is based on experiments where coupling has been reduced by either chemical agents or genetic modification. This has brought evidence that gap junctions are important in many physiological processes. In a number of cases, gap junctions have been implicated in the initiation and progress of disease, and experimental uncoupling has been used to investigate the exact role of coupling. The inverse approach, i.e., to increase coupling, has become possible in recent years and represents a new way of testing the role of gap junctions. The aim of this review is to summarize the current knowledge obtained with agents that selectively increase gap junctional intercellular coupling. Two approaches will be reviewed: increasing coupling by the use of antiarrhythmic peptide and its synthetic analogs and by interfering with the gating of gap junctional channels.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 14, 2007
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