Canadian journal of physiology and pharmacology

Myocardial connexin-43 is upregulated in response to acute cardiac injury in rats.

PMID 28459162


We aimed to explore whether myocardial intercellular channel protein connexin-43 (Cx43) along with PKCε and MMP-2 might be implicated in responses to acute cardiac injury induced by 2 distinct sublethal interventions in Wistar rats. Animals underwent either single chest irradiation at dose of 25 Gy or subcutaneous injection of isoproterenol (ISO, 120 mg/kg) and were compared with untreated controls. Forty-two days post-interventions, the hearts were excised and left ventricles were used for analysis. The findings showed an increase of total as well as phosphorylated forms of myocardial Cx43 regardless of the type of interventions. Enhanced phosphorylation of Cx43 coincided with increased PKCε expression in both models. Elevation of Cx43 was associated with its enhanced distribution on lateral surfaces of the cardiomyocytes in response to both interventions, while focal areas of fibrosis without Cx43 were found in post-ISO but not post-irradiated rat hearts. In parallel, MMP-2 activity was decreased in the former while increased in the latter. Cardiac function was maintained and the susceptibility of the hearts to ischemia or malignant arrhythmias was not deteriorated 42 days after interventions when compared with controls. Altogether, the findings indicate that myocardial Cx43 is most likely implicated in potentially salutary responses to acute heart injury.