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Gap junction communication between chromaffin cells: the hidden face of adrenal stimulus-secretion coupling

Abstract : From birth to death, catecholamine secretion undergoes continuous adjustments, allowing the organism to adapt to homeostasis changes. To cope with these stressful conditions, the neuroendocrine cells of the adrenal medulla play an immediate and crucial role. Chromaffin cell-driven catecholamine release is chiefly controlled by a neurogenic command that arises from the sympathetic nervous system, which releases acetylcholine at the splanchnic nerve terminal-chromaffin cell synapses. In addition to receiving several synaptic inputs individually, chromaffin cells are coupled by gap junctions. This raises interesting questions about the usefulness and the role of the gap junctional coupling within the chromaffin tissue, considering that secretory function is efficiently completed by the neurogenic pathway. The findings that gap junctions contribute to catecholamine secretion, both ex vivo and in vivo, provide some early answers, but their involvement in other cellular functions still remains unexplored. This review summarizes the molecular and physiological evidence that gap junctions can act either as an accelerator or a brake of stimulus-secretion coupling, and discusses this functional plasticity in the context of specific needs in circulating catecholamine levels. It introduces the concept of gap junctions as sympathetic activity sensors and guardians of the functional integrity of the chromaffin tissue.
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Contributor : Nathalie C. Guerineau Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, August 21, 2017 - 5:15:20 PM
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Nathalie C. Guérineau. Gap junction communication between chromaffin cells: the hidden face of adrenal stimulus-secretion coupling. Pflügers Archiv European Journal of Physiology, Springer Verlag, 2017, Epub ahead of print. ⟨10.1007/s00424-017-2032-9⟩. ⟨inserm-01575237⟩



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