GLUT2 in pancreatic and extra-pancreatic gluco-detection (review)

Mol Membr Biol. Oct-Dec 2001;18(4):265-73. doi: 10.1080/09687680110100995.


Detection of variations in blood glucose concentrations by pancreatic beta-cells and a subsequent appropriate secretion of insulin are key events in the control of glucose homeostasis. Because a decreased capability to sense glycemic changes is a hallmark of type 2 diabetes, the glucose signalling pathway leading to insulin secretion in pancreatic beta-cells has been extensively studied. This signalling mechanism depends on glucose metabolism and requires the presence of specific molecules such as GLUT2, glucokinase and the K(ATP) channel subunits Kir6.2 and SUR1. Other cells are also able to sense variations in glycemia or in local glucose concentrations and to modulate different physiological functions participating in the general control of glucose and energy homeostasis. These include cells forming the hepatoportal vein glucose sensor, which controls glucose storage in the liver, counterregulation, food intake and glucose utilization by peripheral tissues and neurons in the hypothalamus and brainstem whose firing rates are modulated by local variations in glucose concentrations or, when not protected by a blood-brain barrier, directly by changes in blood glucose levels. These glucose-sensing neurons are involved in the control of insulin and glucagon secretion, food intake and energy expenditure. Here, recent physiological studies performed with GLUT2-/- mice will be described, which indicate that this transporter is essential for glucose sensing by pancreatic beta-cells, by the hepatoportal sensor and by sensors, probably located centrally, which control activity of the autonomic nervous system and stimulate glucagon secretion. These studies may pave the way to a fine dissection of the molecular and cellular components of extra-pancreatic glucose sensors involved in the control of glucose and energy homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiology
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucagon / metabolism
  • Glucose Transporter Type 2
  • Hypothalamus / physiology
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / physiology*
  • Pancreas / physiology*
  • Portal Vein / physiology
  • Potassium Channels / genetics
  • Potassium Channels / physiology
  • Signal Transduction


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glucose Transporter Type 2
  • Insulin
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
  • Potassium Channels
  • Glucagon