The Expression Patterns of Connexin Isoforms in the Rat Caput Epididymis During Postnatal Development

  • Han, Su-Yong (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Anyang University) ;
  • Lee, Ki-Ho (Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Medicine, Eulji University)
  • Received : 2013.07.06
  • Accepted : 2013.08.21
  • Published : 2013.08.31


Intercellular interactions are important for the proper development and regulation of tissue function. This is especially necessary in the epididymis, a part of male reproductive tract where sperm become mature and acquire their fertilizing capacity. The caput region of the epididymis consists of several types of cells, including principal, basal, and apical cells. Direct intercellular communication is thus required to precisely regulate the functions of the caput epididymis. In this regard, connexin (Cx) is a molecule that forms channels, which allow the direct exchange of small molecules between cells, enabling intercellular communication. In this study, the expression of Cx isoforms in the caput epididymis at different postnatal ages was determined by using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis. Nine of 13 Cx isoforms were detected. The transcript levels of Cx30.3, 31, 31.1, 32, and 40 were highest at 45 days of age, while the expression of Cx43 and 45 gradually decreased with age. A substantial fluctuation of Cx26 expression was detected, with significant decreases before and during puberty, followed by a transient increase at adult-hood and rapid decreases at an old age. A significant increase in Cx37 transcript was observed at 25 days of age, followed by gradual decreases at adult and old ages. These results indicate the significant differential expression of various Cx isoforms in the caput epididymis during postnatal development. It further suggests that the functional regulation and developmental maturation of the caput epididymis are highly related to the postnatal age-related differential expression of Cx isoforms.


Connexin;Caput epididymis;Gene expression;Development;Male


Supported by : National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF)


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