Glucose transporter/T1R3-expressing cells in rat tracheal epithelium

Authors

  • Flavia Merigo,

    1. Department of Neurological, Neuropsychological, Morphological and Movement Sciences, Human Anatomy and Histology Section, University of Verona, School of Medicine, Verona, Italy
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  • Donatella Benati,

    1. Department of Neurological, Neuropsychological, Morphological and Movement Sciences, Human Anatomy and Histology Section, University of Verona, School of Medicine, Verona, Italy
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  • Mirko Cristofoletti,

    1. Department of Neurological, Neuropsychological, Morphological and Movement Sciences, Human Anatomy and Histology Section, University of Verona, School of Medicine, Verona, Italy
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  • Fabio Amarù,

    1. Department of Neurological, Neuropsychological, Morphological and Movement Sciences, Human Anatomy and Histology Section, University of Verona, School of Medicine, Verona, Italy
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  • Francesco Osculati,

    1. IRCCS ‘Bonino-Pulejo’, Messina, Italy
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  • Andrea Sbarbati

    1. Department of Neurological, Neuropsychological, Morphological and Movement Sciences, Human Anatomy and Histology Section, University of Verona, School of Medicine, Verona, Italy
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Flavia Merigo, Human Anatomy and Histology Section, Department of Neurological, Neuropsychological, Morphological and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Strada Le Grazie 8, Verona I-37134, Italy. T: +39 (0)45 8027155; F: +39 (0)45 8027163; E: flavia.merigo@univr.it

Abstract

Glucose transport plays an important role in maintaining low sugar concentration in airway surface liquid (ASL), which is critical for mucociliary clearance and bacterial colonization. Experimental evidence indicates that glucose/hexose uptake in lung/airway cells occurs by means of two structurally distinct glucose transporter pathways: the Na+-dependent glucose transporters (SGLT family) and the facilitative glucose transporters (GLUT family). In this study, we examined the expression of the major glucose transporters of the intestine, GLUT2, GLUT5, SGLT1 and T1R3 taste receptor subunit, in the trachea of rats using immunohistochemistry and immunoelectron microscopy, and compared them using double-labeled confocal microscopy. We found that GLUT2, GLUT5, SGLT1 and T1R3 are selectively expressed in different cell types. T1R3 and GLUT2 are predominantly expressed in subsets of solitary chemoreceptor cells (SCCs) and ciliated cells, GLUT5 is present in subsets of SCCs and in secretory cells, and SGLT1 is exclusively expressed in a unique cell type, SCCs. Furthermore, we demonstrated that T1R3 is colocalized with SGLT1 in SCCs and with GLUT2 transporter in ciliated cells. In conclusion, these findings reveal that different cell types are associated with the uptake of glucose in ASL and that, due to their T1R3 expression, SCCs and ciliated cells are most likely to participate in the chemosensory process in ASL.

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