, Volume 70, Issue 7, pp 1207-1220
Date: 24 Aug 2012

Connexin 43 a check-point component of cell proliferation implicated in a wide range of human testis diseases

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Gap junction channels link cytoplasms of adjacent cells. Connexins, their constitutive proteins, are essential in cell homeostasis and are implicated in numerous physiological processes. Spermatogenesis is a sophisticated model of germ cell proliferation, differentiation, survival, and apoptosis, in which a connexin isotype, connexin 43, plays a crucial role as evidenced by genomic approaches based on gene deletion. The balance between cell proliferation/differentiation/apoptosis is a prerequisite for maintaining levels of spermatozoa essential for fertility and for limiting anarchic cell proliferation, a major risk of testis tumor. The present review highlights the emerging role of connexins in testis pathogenesis, focusing specifically on two intimately interconnected human testicular diseases (azoospermia with impaired spermatogenesis and testicular germ cell tumors), whose incidence increased during the last decades. This work proposes connexin 43 as a potential cancer diagnostic and prognostic marker, as well as a promising therapeutic target for testicular diseases.