Journal of Molecular Neuroscience

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 101–116

Gap Junctions Couple Astrocytes and Oligodendrocytes

  • Jennifer L. Orthmann-Murphy
  • Charles K. Abrams
  • Steven S. Scherer

DOI: 10.1007/s12031-007-9027-5

Cite this article as:
Orthmann-Murphy, J.L., Abrams, C.K. & Scherer, S.S. J Mol Neurosci (2008) 35: 101. doi:10.1007/s12031-007-9027-5


In vertebrates, a family of related proteins called connexins form gap junctions (GJs), which are intercellular channels. In the central nervous system (CNS), GJs couple oligodendrocytes and astrocytes (O/A junctions) and adjacent astrocytes (A/A junctions), but not adjacent oligodendrocytes, forming a “glial syncytium.” Oligodendrocytes and astrocytes each express different connexins. Mutations of these connexin genes demonstrate that the proper functioning of myelin and oligodendrocytes requires the expression of these connexins. The physiological function of O/A and A/A junctions, however, remains to be illuminated.


ConnexinsGap junctionsGliaMyelinK+ buffering

Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer L. Orthmann-Murphy
    • 1
    • 3
  • Charles K. Abrams
    • 2
  • Steven S. Scherer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyUniversity of Pennsylvania School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologySUNY Downstate Medical CenterBrooklynUSA
  3. 3.University of Pennsylvania Medical CenterPhiladelphiaUSA