Gap junctions in the nervous system

Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 2000 Apr;32(1):11-5. doi: 10.1016/s0165-0173(99)00095-8.


Synapses are classically defined as close connections between two nerve cells or between a neuronal cell and a muscle or gland cell across which a chemical signal (i.e., a neurotransmitter) and/or an electrical signal (i.e., current-carrying ions) can pass. The definition of synapse was developed by Charles Sherrington and by Ramon y Cajal at the beginning of this century and refined by John Eccles and Bernard Katz 50 years later; in this collection of papers, the definition of synapses is discussed further in the chapter by Mike Bennett. who provided the first functional demonstration of electrical transmission via gap junction channels between vertebrate neurons. As is evidenced by the range of topics covered in this issue, research dealing with gap junctions in the nervous system has expanded enormously in the past decade, major findings being that specific cell types in the brain expresses specific types of connexins and that expression patterns coincide with tissue compartmentalization and function and that these compartments change during development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gap Junctions / physiology*
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology*