Oligodendrocytes of adult rodents express three different connexins: connexin29 (Cx29), Cx32, and Cx47. In this study, we show that Cx29 is localized to the inner membrane of small myelin sheaths, whereas Cx32 is localized on the outer membrane of large myelin sheaths; Cx29 does not colocalize with Cx32 in gap junction plaques. All oligodendrocytes appear to express Cx47, which is largely restricted to their perikarya. Cx32 and Cx47 are colocalized in many gap junction plaques on oligodendrocyte somata, particularly in gray matter. Cx45 is detected in the cerebral vasculature, but not in oligodendrocytes or myelin sheaths. This diversity of connexins in oligodendrocytes (in different populations of cells and in different subcellular compartments) likely reflects functional differences between these connexins and perhaps the oligodendrocytes themselves.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.