Over-activated hemichannels: A possible therapeutic target for human diseases

Mauricio A. Retamal, Ainoa Fernandez-Olivares, Jimmy Stehberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In our body, all the cells are constantly sharing chemical and electrical information with other cells. This intercellular communication allows them to respond in a concerted way to changes in the extracellular milieu. Connexins are transmembrane proteins that have the particularity of forming two types of channels; hemichannels and gap junction channels. Under normal conditions, hemichannels allow the controlled release of signaling molecules to the extracellular milieu. However, under certain pathological conditions, over-activated hemichannels can induce and/or exacerbate symptoms. In the last decade, great efforts have been put into developing new tools that can modulate these over-activated hemichannels. Small molecules, antibodies and mimetic peptides have shown a potential for the treatment of human diseases. In this review, we summarize recent findings in the field of hemichannel modulation via specific tools, and how these tools could improve patient outcome in certain pathological conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number166232
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Cell death
  • Channelopathies
  • Connexins
  • Hemichannels
  • Human diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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