Gap junctions and chagas disease

Daniel Adesse, Regina Coeli Goldenberg, Fabio S. Fortes, Jasmin, Dumitru A. Iacobas, Sanda Iacobas, Antonio Carlos Campos de Carvalho, Maria de Narareth Meirelles, Huan Huang, Milena B. Soares, Herbert B. Tanowitz, Luciana Ribeiro Garzoni, David C. Spray

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

20 Scopus citations


Gap junction channels provide intercellular communication between cells. In the heart, these channels coordinate impulse propagation along the conduction system and through the contractile musculature, thereby providing synchronous and optimal cardiac output. As in other arrhythmogenic cardiac diseases, chagasic cardiomyopathy is associated with decreased expression of the gap junction protein connexin43 (Cx43) and its gene. Our studies of cardiac myocytes infected with Trypanosoma cruzi have revealed that synchronous contraction is greatly impaired and gap junction immunoreactivity is lost in infected cells. Such changes are not seen for molecules forming tight junctions, another component of the intercalated disc in cardiac myocytes. Transcriptomic studies of hearts from mouse models of Chagas disease and from acutely infected cardiac myocytes in vitro indicate profound remodelling of gene expression patterns involving heart rhythm determinant genes, suggesting underlying mechanisms of the functional pathology. One curious feature of the altered expression of Cx43 and its gene expression is that it is limited in both extent and location, suggesting that the more global deterioration in cardiac function may result in part from spread of damage signals from more seriously compromised cells to healthier ones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Parasitology
PublisherAcademic Press
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2011

Publication series

NameAdvances in Parasitology
ISSN (Print)0065-308X


  • Arrhythmia
  • Astrocyte
  • Cx43
  • Gene expression connexin
  • Gja1
  • Heart
  • Intercellular communication
  • Tight junction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology


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