Biology and pathobiology of gap junctional channels in hepatocytes

Authors

  • Mathieu Vinken,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Toxicology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Laarbeeklaan 103, B-1090 Brussels, Belgium
    • Department of Toxicology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Laarbeeklaan 103, B-1090 Brussels, Belgium
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    • fax: +32-2-4774582

    • Mathieu Vinken and Tamara Vanhaecke are postdoctoral research fellows of the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (Fonds Voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Vlaanderen), Belgium.

  • Tom Henkens,

    1. Department of Toxicology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Laarbeeklaan 103, B-1090 Brussels, Belgium
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  • Evelien De Rop,

    1. Department of Toxicology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Laarbeeklaan 103, B-1090 Brussels, Belgium
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  • Joanna Fraczek,

    1. Department of Toxicology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Laarbeeklaan 103, B-1090 Brussels, Belgium
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  • Tamara Vanhaecke,

    1. Department of Toxicology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Laarbeeklaan 103, B-1090 Brussels, Belgium
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    • Mathieu Vinken and Tamara Vanhaecke are postdoctoral research fellows of the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (Fonds Voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Vlaanderen), Belgium.

  • Vera Rogiers

    1. Department of Toxicology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Laarbeeklaan 103, B-1090 Brussels, Belgium
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  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.

Abstract

The present review provides the state of the art of the current knowledge concerning gap junctional channels and their roles in liver functioning. In the first part, we summarize some relevant biochemical properties of hepatic gap junctional channels, including their structure and regulation. In the second part, we discuss the involvement of gap junctional channels in the occurrence of liver cell growth, liver cell differentiation, and liver cell death. We further exemplify their relevance in hepatic pathophysiology. Finally, a number of directions for future liver gap junctional channel research are proposed, and the up-regulation of gap junctional channel activity as a novel strategy in (liver) cancer therapy is illustrated. (HEPATOLOGY 2007.)

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