Connexins in endothelial cells as a therapeutic target for solid organ transplantation

Am J Transplant. 2022 Nov;22(11):2502-2508. doi: 10.1111/ajt.17104. Epub 2022 Jun 10.


Connexins are a class of membrane proteins widely distributed throughout the body and have various functions based on their location and levels of expression. More specifically, connexin proteins expressed in endothelial cells (ECs) have unique roles in maintaining EC barrier integrity and function-a highly regulated process that is critical for pro-inflammatory and pro-coagulant reactions. In this minireview, we discuss the regulatory influence connexin proteins have in maintaining EC barrier integrity and their role in ischemia-reperfusion injury as it relates to organ transplantation. It is evident that certain isoforms of the connexin protein family are uniquely positioned to have far-reaching effects on preserving organ function; however, there is still much to be learned of their roles in transplant immunology and the application of this knowledge to the development of targeted therapeutics.

Keywords: basic (laboratory) research/science; cellular biology; ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI); organ perfusion and preservation; solid organ transplantation; translational research/science.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Connexins / therapeutic use
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Organ Preservation
  • Organ Transplantation*
  • Reperfusion Injury* / metabolism


  • Connexins