Relative distribution of three major lactate transporters in frozen human tissues and their localization in unfixed skeletal muscle

Muscle Nerve. 2002 Jul;26(1):101-12. doi: 10.1002/mus.10168.


We have prepared affinity-purified rabbit polyclonal antibodies to the near-C-terminal peptides of human monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs) 1, 2, and 4 coupled to keyhole limpet hemocyanin. Each antiserum reacted only with its specific peptide antigen and gave a distinct molecular weight band (blocked by preincubation with antigen) after chemiluminescence reaction on Western blots from sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) of tissue membrane proteins. Densitometry showed distinctive expression patterns for each MCT in a panel of 15 frozen human tissues, with the distribution of MCT1 >>MCT2>MCT4. Fluorescence microscopy of unfixed skeletal muscle using fluorescein-conjugated secondary antibody was correlated with reverse adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) stained sequential sections to identify fiber-type localization. MCT1 expression was high in the sarcolemma of type 1 fibers, modest to low in type 2a fibers, and almost absent in type 2b fibers. In contrast, MCT4 expression was low to absent in the membrane of most type 1 fibers, but high in most 2a and in all 2b fibers, favoring the view that their high lactate levels during work may be channeled in part to neighboring type 1 (and perhaps 2a) fibers for oxidation, thereby delaying fatigue. MCT2 expression was limited to the sarcolemma of a type 1 fiber subset, which varied from <5 to 40%, depending on the specific muscle under study. Quantitative chemiluminescent densitometry of 10 muscle biopsies for their MCT2 and MCT4 content, each normalized to MCT1, confirmed the unique variation of MCT2 expression with biopsy site. The application of these antibodies should add to the understanding of motor unit physiology, and may contribute to the muscle-biopsy assessment of low-level denervation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antibody Specificity
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cryopreservation
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Humans
  • Immune Sera / isolation & purification
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Monocarboxylic Acid Transporters / biosynthesis*
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / cytology
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle Proteins*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / cytology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Symporters / biosynthesis*


  • Immune Sera
  • Monocarboxylic Acid Transporters
  • Muscle Proteins
  • SLC16A4 protein, human
  • SLC16A7 protein, human
  • Symporters
  • monocarboxylate transport protein 1