Immunogold cytochemistry of the blood-brain barrier glucose transporter GLUT1 and endogenous albumin in the developing human brain

Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 2000 Sep 30;123(1):95-101. doi: 10.1016/s0165-3806(00)00086-9.


The blood-brain barrier (BBB) glucose transporter, GLUT1, was detected by immunogold electron microscopy on the microvascular compartment of the human foetus telencephalon at the 12th and 18th weeks of gestation. By computerized morphometry, the cellular and subcellular localization of the immunosignal for GLUT1 was quantitatively evaluated. The study showed that the glucose transporter is strongly expressed by endothelial cells while a very low signal is detected on vascular pericytes. The GLUT1 antigenic sites are preferentially associated to the ablumenal and junctional plasma membranes of the endothelial cells and tend to increase significantly with age. A parallel study carried out by the endogenous serum protein albumin demonstrated that already at the 12th week the endothelial routes are hindered to the protein as happens at the blood-endothelium interface of mature brain. The results demonstrate that in the human foetus the brain microvessels express BBB-specific functional activities early.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood-Brain Barrier / physiology*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology*
  • Female
  • Glucose Transporter Type 1
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Serum Albumin / metabolism*
  • Subcellular Fractions / drug effects
  • Subcellular Fractions / metabolism


  • Glucose Transporter Type 1
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
  • SLC2A1 protein, human
  • Serum Albumin