Developmental Expression of GLUT1 and GLUT3 Glucose Transporters in Rat Brain


  • Susan J. Vannucci

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Pediatrics, Hershey Medical Center, Pennsylvania State University, Hershey, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
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  • A preliminary report of this work has appeared in Adv. Exp. Med. Biol.331, 3–7 (1993).

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. S. J. Vannucci at Department of Pediatrics, Hershey Medical Center, Pennsylvania State University, Hershey, PA 17033, U.S.A.


Abstract: Two glucose transport proteins, GLUT1 and GLUT3, have been detected in brain. GLUT1 is concentrated in the endothelial cells of the blood-brain barrier and may be present in neurons and glia; GLUT3 is probably the major neuronal glucose transporter. Of the few studies of glucose transport in the immature brain, none has quantified GLUTS. This study used membrane isolation and immunoblotting techniques to examine the developmental expression of GLUT1 and GLUT3 in four forebrain regions, cerebral microvessels, and choroid plexus, from rats 1–30 days postnatally as compared with adults. The GLUT1 level in whole brain samples was low for 14 days, doubled by 21 days, and doubled again to attain adult levels by 30 days; there was no regional variation. The GLUT3 level in these samples was low during the first postnatal week, increased steadily to adult levels by 21–30 days, and demonstrated regional specificity. The concentration of GLUT1 in microvessels increased steadily after the first postnatal week; the GLUT1 level in choroid plexus was high at birth, decreased at 1 week, and then returned to near fetal levels. GLUT3 was not found in microvessels or choroid plexus. This study indicates that both GLUT1 and GLUT3 are developmentally regulated in rat brain: GLUT1 appears to relate to the nutrient supply and overall growth of the brain, whereas GLUT3 more closely relates to functional activity and neuronal maturation.