, Volume 47, Issue 12, pp 2081-2092
Date: 10 Dec 2004

Characterisation of glucose transporters in the intact coronary artery endothelium in rats: GLUT-2 upregulated by long-term hyperglycaemia



We have examined the effects of streptozotocin-induced type 1 diabetes on the expression and subcellular distribution of the classic sugar transporters (GLUT-1 to 5 and sodium-dependent glucose transporter-1 [SGLT-1]) in the endothelial cells of an en face preparation of septal coronary artery from Wistar rats.


The presence of the GLUT isoforms and SGLT-1 in the endothelial cell layer was determined by immunohistochemistry using wide-field fluorescence microscopy coupled to deconvolution, and was quantified by digital image analysis.


We found that all of the transporters were expressed within these cells and that all except SGLT-1 were preferentially located on the abluminal side. The heaviest labelling was adjacent to the cell-to-cell junctions where the luminal and abluminal membranes are in close proximity, which may reflect a spatial organisation specialised for vectorial glucose transport across the thinnest part of the cytoplasm. Long-term hyperglycaemia, induced by streptozotocin, significantly downregulated GLUT-1, 3, 4 and 5 and dramatically upregulated GLUT-2, leaving SGLT-1 unchanged.


We conclude that the high susceptibility of endothelial cells to glucose toxicity may be the result of the subcellular organisation of their GLUTs and the increased expression of GLUT-2.