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Stem Cells International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 607161, 16 pages
Research Article

Human Amniotic Fluid Cells Form Functional Gap Junctions with Cortical Cells

1Neurogenesis and Brain Repair Group, Neurobiology Program, Institute for Biological Sciences, National Research Council Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1A 0R6
2Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 8M5
3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 8M5

Received 2 March 2012; Accepted 17 April 2012

Academic Editor: Markus Hengstschläger

Copyright © 2012 Anna Jezierski et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The usage of stem cells is a promising strategy for the repair of damaged tissue in the injured brain. Recently, amniotic fluid (AF) cells have received a lot of attention as an alternative source of stem cells for cell-based therapies. However, the success of this approach relies significantly on proper interactions between graft and host tissue. In particular, the reestablishment of functional brain networks requires formation of gap junctions, as a key step to provide sufficient intercellular communication. In this study, we show that AF cells express high levels of CX43 (GJA1) and are able to establish functional gap junctions with cortical cultures. Furthermore, we report an induction of Cx43 expression in astrocytes following injury to the mouse motor cortex and demonstrate for the first time CX43 expression at the interface between implanted AF cells and host brain cells. These findings suggest that CX43-mediated intercellular communication between AF cells and cortical astrocytes may contribute to the reconstruction of damaged tissue by mediating modulatory, homeostatic, and protective factors in the injured brain and hence warrants further investigation.