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Intercellular Ca(2+) wave propagation between vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) is associated with the propagation of contraction along the vessel. Here, we characterize the involvement of gap junctions (GJs) in Ca(2+) wave propagation between SMCs at the cellular level. Gap junctional communication was assessed by the propagation of intercellular Ca(2+) waves and the transfer of Lucifer Yellow in A7r5 cells, primary rat mesenteric SMCs (pSMCs), and 6B5N cells, a clone of A7r5 cells expressing higher connexin43 (Cx43) to Cx40 ratio. Mechanical stimulation induced an intracellular Ca(2+) wave in pSMC and 6B5N cells that propagated to neighboring cells, whereas Ca(2+) waves in A7r5 cells failed to progress to neighboring cells. We demonstrate that Cx43 forms the functional GJs that are involved in mediating intercellular Ca(2+) waves and that co-expression of Cx40 with Cx43, depending on their expression ratio, may interfere with Cx43 GJ formation, thus altering junctional communication.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell communication & adhesion

Publication Date





25 - 37


Laboratory of Cell Biophysics, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland.


Mesenteric Arteries, Cells, Cultured, Gap Junctions, Myocytes, Smooth Muscle, Animals, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Octanols, Carbenoxolone, Isoquinolines, Peptides, Connexins, Connexin 43, Fluorescent Dyes, Cell Communication, Calcium Signaling, Gene Expression, Protein Binding, Protein Transport, Male, Single-Cell Analysis, Primary Cell Culture