The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of ovariectomy and long-term combined sexual hormone replacement on the gap junctional protein, connexin 43 (Cx43) of aortic medial smooth muscle cells in rats. Twenty non-pregnant mature Wistar female rats were divided into five groups (four animals in each group). Group A underwent ovariectomy, Group B underwent ovariectomy and received estradiol propionate, Group C underwent ovariectomy and received medroxyprogesterone acetate and Group D underwent ovariectomy and received both hormones. Group E was sham-operated and used as control. After 15 weeks of treatment, thoracic aortas were removed and immunohistochemistry was carried out using a specific fluorescent antibody against Cx43. Tissue sections were examined by confocal laser scanning microscopy and analysed by the Scion Image program. All five different groups had the same distribution and extent of Cx43 in the aorta. Neither the ovariectomy nor the hormone replacement had any effect on the Cx43 expression of aortic smooth muscle cells in rats as compared to control animals. These results indicate that sexual steroids do not influence the gap junctional protein Cx43 of the medial layer of aorta in rats. They may suggest that the beneficial effects of estrogen are not mediated via gap junctions in the human aorta either.
- Arterial smooth muscle cell
- Connexin 43
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cell Biology