Immunocytochemical Localization of Glucose Transporter-2 (GLUT-2) in Pancreatic Islets and Islet Cell Tumors

Endocr Pathol. Autumn 1999;10(3):213-221. doi: 10.1007/BF02738882.


Glucose is a major metabolic fuel in mammals and is transported into organs and cells by a facilitated diffusion which involves binding of glucose to glucose transporters (GLUTs). Among several GLUTs so far indentified, GLUT-2 is specifically localized immunocytochemV cally in beta-islet cells. Using immunocytochemical staining, normal pancreases and 27 cases of islet cell tumors, including insulinomas, gastrinomas, glucagonomas, pancreatic polypeptide-omas (PPomas), and a nonfunctioning islet cells tumor, were systematically stained for four different pancreatic hormones, gastrin, and GLUT-2. GLUT-2 staining in beta-islet cells was more diffuse than that of insulin immunostaining, and corresponded with the positive staining in the lateral segments of beta-cell plasma membrane, that faced adjacent beta-cells. Glucagon, somatostatin (SRIF) and PP cells stained weakly for GLUT-2, weaker than that of beta-cells. Some nonbeta cells, especially extra-islet PP cells were not stained for GLUT-2. Among islet cell tumors, insulinomas stained less strongly for GLUT-2 than normal beta-cells from the adjacent normal pancreas. Gastrinomas, glucagonomas, and PPomas stained weaker than insulinomas. Even nonfunctioning islet cell tumors were weakly stained for GLUT-2. The positive staining for GLUT-2 observed for islets cells and all islet tumors is consistent with the notion that all pancreatic islet cells and islet cell tumors utilize glucose as a major fuel, requiring transporter-facilitated diffusion of glucose into the cells of normal organ and their tumors.