PROBLEM: The scarce data on glucose transporter expression of leukocytes are contradictory and nothing is known about changes accompanying physiological leukocytosis during pregnancy, which imposes acute metabolic demands on the cells.
METHOD OF STUDY: Cytospin preparations of intravascular leukocytes were searched immunocytochemically for the high affinity glucose transporters GLUT1, 3 and 4. Pregnancy-associated quantitative changes in transporter expression were assessed by flow cytometry.
RESULTS: Granulocytes and monocytes stained for GLUT1, 3 and 4. Major changes in cell surface transporter expression during pregnancy were a 36% (P < 0.05) down-regulation of granulocyte GLUT1 at term, and an increase in monocyte GLUT3 levels to 137% (P < 0.05), paralleled by a 24% (P < 0.05) decrease in GLUT4 content in second trimester. Apart from a minor subpopulation, lymphocytes were negative for these carriers.
CONCLUSION: GLUT1, 3 and 4 are abundantly expressed in granulocytes and monocytes. The particular isoforms are differentially regulated during pregnancy, suggesting an individual functional significance.