Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 70, Issue 7, pp 1207–1220

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

  • Daniel Chevallier
  • Diane Carette
  • Dominique Segretain
  • Jérome Gilleron
  • Georges Pointis


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.


Azoospermia Connexin 43 Gap junction Pathogenesis Testicular germ cell tumors 





Anti-Müllerian hormone


Blood–testis barrier


Cyclic adenosine monophosphate


Cyclic guanosine monophosphate


Carcinoma in situ




Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor


Gap junction protein alpha 1


Gap junction intercellular communication


Human chorionic gonadotropin




Lactate dehydrogenase






Primordial germ cell


Placental alkaline phosphatase




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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Chevallier
    • 1
    • 2
  • Diane Carette
    • 3
    • 4
  • Dominique Segretain
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jérome Gilleron
    • 2
    • 5
  • Georges Pointis
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of UrologyPasteur HospitalNiceFrance
  2. 2.INSERM U 1065, Team 5 “Physiopathologic Control of Germ Cell Proliferation: Genomic and Non Genomic Mechanisms”University Nice Sophia-AntipolisNice Cedex 3France
  3. 3.UMR S775University Paris DescartesParisFrance
  4. 4.University of VersaillesSaint QuentinFrance
  5. 5.Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and GeneticsDresdenGermany

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