The Link between Connexin 43 and Fibrosis Regulation in relation to heart diseases
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Cell-to-cell coupling, excitability of the cardiomyocytes and the intercellular tissue architecture are important determinant factors for the proper electrical conduction through the myocardium. However, cardiac remodeling is often hallmarked by alterations in these factors. Reduced connexin 43 (Cx43) expression and enhanced fibrosis formation, which affect cell-to-cell coupling and ECM architecture, are frequently reported as a consequence of cardiac remodeling. Recent studies provided evidence for a direct link between reduced expression of Cx43 and enhanced cardiac fibrosis. At present it is unknown how Cx43 expression is able to regulate fibrosis formation. This thesis will first summarize the important regulators of Cx43 expression and fibrosis. Hereafter, a new model is proposed for the link between Cx43 remodeling and fibrosis formation during cardiac stress and remodeling.