Acute effect of endothelins on intercellular communication of human embryonic stem cells

Raymond C.B. Wong, Kathryn C. Davidson, Jessie Leung, Martin F. Pera, Alice Pébay

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Endothelin (ET) family comprises three isoforms, ET-1, ET-2 and ET-3 that bind to two receptors ET-A and ET-B. Upon hESC differentiation, ET-1 and ET-B are respectively up- and down-regulated, suggesting a potential role of ETs in hESC biology. Here we show expression of ET receptors in hESC and demonstrate that ET-1 and ET-2 inhibit gap junctional intercellular communication (GJIC), while ET-3 does not. Pre-incubation of the cell cultures with the two specific antagonists of ET-A and ET-B, BQ123 and BQ788 respectively, demonstrate that inhibition of GJIC by ETs is mediated by ET-A. Long-term treatment of hESC with ET-1 indicates no visible effect on hESC maintenance of pluripotency markers, as assessed by expression of the hESC markers Oct-4, GCTM-2 and TG-30. Altogether these data show that hESC are target cells of ETs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-56
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Stem Cells
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Endothelin
  • Gap junction
  • Gap junctional intercellular communication
  • Human embryonic stem cells

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