Reference Work Entry

Handbook of Neurochemistry and Molecular Neurobiology

pp 387-404


Expression and Functional Activities of Glucose Transporters in the Central Nervous System

  • G. G. Piroli
  • , C. A. Grillo
  • , L. R. Reznikov
  • , L. P. Reagan


The family of facilitative glucose transporter (GLUT) proteins is responsible for the entry of glucose into cells throughout the periphery and the brain. The expression, regulation and activity of glucose transporters play an essential role in neuronal homeostasis, since glucose represents the primary energy source for the brain. Brain GLUTs exhibit both cell type and region specific localizations suggesting that the transport and utilization of glucose in the CNS is tightly regulated and compartmentalized. Brain GLUTs also exhibit discrete localizations, as well as unique subcellular localizations, indicating that GLUTs may be involved in highly specialized activities in the CNS such as glucose sensing. Insulin sensitive GLUTs are expressed in the brain suggesting that GLUTs may participate in the central actions of insulin, including cognitive function and homeostatic control of food intake. These results illustrate that the expression, regulation and trafficking of brain GLUTs are critically involved in maintaining neuronal homeostasis and responsiveness.