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Background: Imbalances in circulating T lymphocytes play critical roles in the pathogenesis of hypertension-mediated inflammation. Connexins (Cxs) in immune cells are involved in the maintenance of homeostasis of T lymphocytes. However, the association between Cxs in peripheral blood T lymphocytes and hypertension-mediated inflammation remains unknown. This study was designed to investigate the role of Cxs in T lymphocytes in hypertension-mediated inflammation in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs). Methods: The systolic blood pressure (SBP) in Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats and SHRs was monitored using the tail-cuff method. The serum cytokine level was determined using ELISA. The proportions of different T-lymphocyte subtypes in the peripheral blood, the expressions of Cx40/Cx43 in the T-cell subtypes, and the gap junctional intracellular communication (GJIC) of peripheral blood lymphocytes were measured using flow cytometry (FC). The accumulations of Cx40/Cx43 at the plasma membrane and/or in the cytoplasm were determined using immunofluorescence staining. The in vitro mRNA levels of cytokines and GJIC in the peripheral blood lymphocytes were respectively examined using real-time PCR and FC after treatment with Gap27 and/or concanavalin A (Con A). Results: The percentage of CD4+ T cells and the CD4+/CD8+ ratio were high, and the accumulation or expressions of Cx40/Cx43 in the peripheral blood lymphocytes in SHRs were higher than in those of WKY rats. The percentage of CD8+ and CD4+CD25+ T cells was lower in SHRs. The serum levels of IL-2, IL-4 and IL-6 from SHRs were higher than those from WKY rats, and the serum levels of IL-2 and IL-6 positively correlated with the expression of Cx40/Cx43 in the peripheral blood T lymphocytes from SHRs. The peripheral blood lymphocytes of SHRs exhibited enhanced GJIC. Cx43-based channel inhibition, which was mediated by Gap27, remarkably reduced GJIC in lymphocytes, and suppressed IL-2 and IL-6 mRNA expressions in Con A stimulated peripheral blood lymphocytes. Conclusions: Our data suggest that Cxs may be involved in the regulation of T-lymphocyte homeostasis and the production of cytokines. A clear association was found between alterations in Cxs expression or in Cx43-based GJIC and hypertension-mediated inflammation.
Ni, X., Li, X. zhi, Fan, Z. ru, Wang, A., Zhang, H. chao, Zhang, L., … Ma, K. tao. (2018). Increased expression and functionality of the gap junction in peripheral blood lymphocytes is associated with hypertension-mediated inflammation in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Cellular and Molecular Biology Letters, 23(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s11658-018-0106-0
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