, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 101-116
Date: 31 Jan 2008

Gap Junctions Couple Astrocytes and Oligodendrocytes

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Abstract

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.