Connexins are a family of gap junction proteins widely distributed in human organs and tissues. Gap junctions are organized systems of intercellular protein channels that allow the exchange of ions, chemical signals, and energy substrates between two adjacent cells. Connexin43 (Cx43) is the most abundant isoform of connexins in the heart which play an important role in myocardium disease. Numerous studies have shown that Cx43 was involved in tumor migration and invasion by mediating gap junctions between tumor cells and normal cells. Changes in the expression and distribution of Cx43 contribute to heart disease and cancer. This review discusses current knowledge on the functional and structural abnormalities in Cx43 associated with heart disease and cancer, aiming to highlight the importance of this connexin as an emerging therapeutic target. Here, the current knowledge on the pharmacology of Gap Junction Channels and Hemichannels were also summarized. Finally, we propose that these knowledges can be exploited to identify new diagnostic and effective therapeutic approaches for ischemic heart disease and cancer.
Keywords: Connexin43, cancer, heart, ischemic, molecular imaging, myocardium disease.
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