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Direct intercellular communication mediated by gap junctions constitutes a major regulatory platform in the control of hepatic homeostasis. Hepatocellular gap junctions are composed of two hemichannels of adjacent cells which are built up by connexin proteins, in casu Cx32. Dr. Mathieu Vinken, postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Toxicology of the Free University Brussels-Belgium, was one of the first investigators to demonstrate that hepatic connexin expression is controlled by epigenetic mechanisms. In particular, he found that inhibitors of histone deacetylase enzymes enhance Cx32 production and gap junction activity in cultures of primary hepatocytes, a finding that is of importance for liver-based in vitro modelling. Dr. Mathieu Vinken's recent work is focussed on the elucidation of the role of connexin proteins and their channels in the hepatocyte life cycle. Specific attention is paid to apoptosis in this context, whereby it has yet been found that Cx32 hemichannels control the termination of induced cell death in cultures of primary hepatocytes. Overall, Dr. Mathieu Vinken's research can be considered as an important contribution to the field hepatic connexin physiology.
|Tijdschrift||World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology|
|Status||Published - 15 okt 2011|
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