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Over the past several decades a large amount of data have established that glial cells, the main cell population in the brain, dynamically interact with neurons and thus impact their activity and survival. One typical feature of glia is their marked expression of several connexins, the membrane proteins forming intercellular gap junction channels and hemichannels. Pannexins, which have a tetraspan membrane topology as connexins, are also detected in glial cells. Here, we review the evidence that connexin and pannexin channels are actively involved in dynamic and metabolic neuroglial interactions in physiological as well as in pathological situations. These features of neuroglial interactions open the way to identify novel non-neuronal aspects that allow for a better understanding of behavior and information processing performed by neurons. This will also complement the "neurocentric" view by facilitating the development of glia-targeted therapeutic strategies in brain disease.


Christian Giaume, Christian C Naus, Juan C Sáez, Luc Leybaert. Glial Connexins and Pannexins in the Healthy and Diseased Brain. Physiological reviews. 2021 Jan 01;101(1):93-145

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PMID: 32326824

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