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Cell Biology International (2012) 36, 497–502 (Printed in Great Britain)
Effect of oxidized LDL on the expression of connexins in cultured human umbilical-vein endothelial cells
Shunrong Zhang1, Mingming Hong and Yue Gao
Geriatric Department, Hangzhou First Peoples Hospital, Hangzhou, Peoples Republic of China


The role of connexins in atherogenesis has attracted increasing attention in recent years; however, whether oxidized LDL (low density lipoprotein) is one of the pro-atherosclerotic factors that can influence the expression of endothelial connexins remains unclear. To investigate the effect of oxidized LDL on the gene expression of the gap junction proteins connexin37, connexin40 and connexin43 in cultured HUVEC (human umbilical-vein endothelial cells) in vitro, HUVEC were cultured and divided into groups before being stimulated with various concentrations of oxidized LDL for different times. mRNA expression of connexin37, connexin40 and connexin43 in each group were determined semi-quantitatively by RT–PCR (reverse transcription–PCR), while protein expression of the three connexins was investigated by immunocytochemical staining. Various concentrations of oxidized LDL down-regulated mRNA and protein expression of connexin37, and up-regulated the expression of connexin40 and connexin43. Time-dependent dynamic alterations of the mRNA expression levels of connexin37, connexin40 and connexin43 were also found in HUVEC stimulated by oxidized LDL. We conclude that oxidized LDL can change the expression of connexin genes in cultured HUVEC within a short period, and thus may be involved in the pro-atherosclerotic effect of oxidized LDL.


Key words: connexins, gene expression, human umbilical-vein endothelial cells, oxidized low density lipoprotein

Abbreviations: ApoE, apolipoprotein E, GAPDH, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, HUVEC, human umbilical-vein endothelial cells, LDL, low density lipoprotein, PFA, paraformaldehyde, RT–PCR, reverse transcription–PCR

1To whom correspondence should be addressed (email zsr8888@hotmail.com).


Received 11 September 2011/18 January 2012; accepted 16 February 2012

Published as Cell Biology International Immediate Publication 16 February 2012, doi:10.1042/CBI20110466


© The Author(s) Journal compilation © 2012 International Federation for Cell Biology


ISSN Print: 1065-6995
ISSN Electronic: 1095-8355
Published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the International Federation for Cell Biology (IFCB)