Quantitative analysis of intercellular connections by immunohistochemistry of the cardiac gap junction protein connexin43.
Polyclonal antisera directed against epitopes in the cytoplasmic domain of rat connexin43, the predominant cardiac gap junction protein, were used to delineate immunohistochemically the distribution of gap junctions in sections of canine left ventricle. Antigen-antibody binding and tissue structure were preserved after paraformaldehyde fixation and paraffin embedment of canine myocardium. Specific binding of antibody to the cytoplasmic surfaces of ultrastructurally identified gap junctions was confirmed with electron microscopy. Light microscopic morphometric analysis of immunostained sections in five separate experiments revealed a mean gap junction surface density of 0.0052 micron2/micron3 myocyte volume, which is consistent with previously reported values determined by use of quantitative electron microscopy. This new method permits quantitative determinations of gap junction surface density and distribution in relatively large heterogeneous areas of myocardium in which ultrastructural morphometry would be impractical. This approach should facilitate analysis of the relation between potential alterations in electrical coupling of myocytes and abnormalities of myocardial conduction occurring at the macroscopic scale in regions such as structurally heterogeneous infarct border zones.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association