Intercellular communication through gap junctions (GJIC) plays an essential role in maintaining the functional integrity of vascular endothelium. Despite emerging evidence suggests that (-)-Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) may improve endothelial function. However, its effect on Cx43 gap junction in endothelial cells remains unexplored. Here we investigated the effect of EGCG on connexin43 (Cx43) gap junction in endothelial cells. The levels of Cx43 protein in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) cultured under serum-deprivation 48 h decreased about 50%, accompanied by decreased GJIC. This reduction can be reversed by treatments with EGCG. In addition, EGCG activated ERK, P38, and JNK mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), which were supposed to participate in the regulation of Cx43. A MEK inhibitor PD98059, but not SB203580 (a p38 kinase inhibitor) or SP600125 (a JNK kinase inhibitor), abolished the effects of EGCG on Cx43 expression and GJIC. Moreover, although both Akt and eNOS phosphorylation were time-dependently augmented by EGCG, neither PI3K inhibitor LY294002 nor eNOS inhibitor L-NAME blocked the effects of EGCG on Cx43 gap junctions. Thus, EGCG attenuated Cx43 down-regulation and impaired GJIC induced by serum deprivation, ERK MAPK Signal transduction pathway appears to be involved in these processes.
Copyright Â© 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.