Connexin 43 regulates the expression of wound healing-related genes in human gingival and skin fibroblasts

Rana Tarzemany, Guoqiao Jiang, Jean X. Jiang, Corrie Gallant-Behm, Colin Wiebe, David A. Hart, Hannu Larjava, Lari Häkkinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Fibroblasts are the most abundant connective tissue cells and play an important role in wound healing. It is possible that faster and scarless wound healing in oral mucosal gingiva relative to skin may relate to the distinct phenotype of the fibroblasts residing in these tissues. Connexin 43 (Cx43) is the most ubiquitous Cx in skin (SFBLs) and gingival fibroblasts (GFBLs), and assembles into hemichannels (HCs) and gap junctions (GJs) on the cell membrane. We hypothesized that SFBLs and GFBLs display distinct expression or function of Cx43, and that this may partly underlie the different wound healing outcomes in skin and gingiva. Here we show that Cx43 distinctly formed Cx43 GJs and HCs in human skin and gingiva in vivo. However, in SFBLs, in contrast to GFBLs, only a small proportion of total Cx43 assembled into HC plaques. Using an in vivo-like 3D culture model, we further show that the GJ, HC, and channel-independent functions of Cx43 distinctly regulated wound healing-related gene expression in GFBLs and SFBLs. Therefore, the distinct wound healing outcomes in skin and gingiva may partly relate to the inherently different assembly and function of Cx43 in the resident fibroblasts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-161
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 15 2018


  • Connexin 43
  • Fibroblasts
  • Gap junctions
  • Gingiva
  • Hemichannels
  • Skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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