: Glioblastoma (GBM) represents the most common primary brain tumor within the adult population. Current therapeutic options are still limited by high rate of recurrences and signalling axes that promote GBM aggressiveness. The contribution of gap junctions (GJs) to tumor growth and progression has been proven by experimental evidence. Concomitantly, tumor microenvironment has received increasing interest as a critical process in dysregulation and homeostatic escape, finding a close link between molecular mechanisms involved in connexin 43 (CX43)-based intercellular communication and tumorigenesis. Moreover, evidence has come to suggest a crucial role of sonic hedgehog (SHH) signalling pathway in GBM proliferation, cell fate and differentiation. Herein, we used two human GBM cell lines, modulating SHH signalling and CX43-based intercellular communication in in vitro models using proliferation and migration assays. Our evidence suggests that modulation of the SHH effector smoothened (SMO), by using a known agonist (i.e., purmorphamine) and a known antagonist (i.e., cyclopamine), affects the CX43 expression levels and therefore the related functions. Moreover, SMO activation also increased cell proliferation and migration. Importantly, inhibition of CX43 channels was able to prevent SMO-induced effects. SHH pathway and CX43 interplay acts inducing tumorigenic program and supporting cell migration, likely representing druggable targets to develop new therapeutic strategies for GBM.
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