Gap junctions in vascular tissues: Evaluating the role of intercellular communication in the modulation of vasomotor tone

George J. Christ, David C. Spray, Marwan El-Sabban, Lisa K. Moore, Peter R. Brink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

231 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Integration and coordination of responses among vascular wall cells are critical to the local modulation of vasomotor tone and to the maintenance of circulatory homeostasis. This article reviews the vast literature concerning the principles that govern the initiation and propagation of vasoactive stimuli among vascular smooth muscle cells, which are nominally the final effectors of vasomotor tone. In light of the abundance of new information concerning the distribution and function of gap junctions between vascular wall cells throughout the vascular tree, particular attention is paid to this integral aspect of vascular physiology. Evidence is provided for the important contribution of intercellular communication to vascular function at all levels of the circulation, from the largest elastic artery to the terminal arterioles. The thesis of this review is that the presence of gap junctions, in concert with the autonomic nervous system, pacemaker cells, myogenic mechanisms, and/or electrotonic current spread (both hyperpolarizing and depolarizing waves through gap junctions), confers a plasticity, adaptability, and flexibility to vasculature that may well account for the observed diversity in regulation and function of vascular tissues throughout the vascular tree. It is hoped that the summary information provided here will serve as a launching pad for a new discourse on the mechanistic basis of the integrative regulation and function of vasculature, which painstakingly accounts for the undoubtedly complex and manifold role of gap junctions in vascular physiology/dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-646
Number of pages16
JournalCirculation Research
Volume79
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996

Fingerprint

Gap Junctions
Blood Vessels
Cell Wall
Information Dissemination
Autonomic Nervous System
Arterioles
Vascular Smooth Muscle
Smooth Muscle Myocytes
Homeostasis
Arteries
Maintenance

Keywords

  • gap junction
  • intercellular communication
  • vascular physiology
  • vascular smooth muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Cite this

Gap junctions in vascular tissues : Evaluating the role of intercellular communication in the modulation of vasomotor tone. / Christ, George J.; Spray, David C.; El-Sabban, Marwan; Moore, Lisa K.; Brink, Peter R.

In: Circulation Research, Vol. 79, No. 4, 1996, p. 631-646.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Christ, George J. ; Spray, David C. ; El-Sabban, Marwan ; Moore, Lisa K. ; Brink, Peter R. / Gap junctions in vascular tissues : Evaluating the role of intercellular communication in the modulation of vasomotor tone. In: Circulation Research. 1996 ; Vol. 79, No. 4. pp. 631-646.
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