Glucose transporter expression in the central nervous system: relationship to synaptic function

Eur J Pharmacol. 2004 Apr 19;490(1-3):13-24. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2004.02.041.


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 GLUTs 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 of glucose across the blood-brain barrier is tightly regulated and compartmentalized. As seen in the periphery, insulin-sensitive GLUTs are expressed in the brain and therefore may participate in the central actions of insulin. The aim of this review will be to discuss the localization of GLUTs expressed in the central nervous system (CNS), with a special emphasis upon the recently identified GLUT isoforms. In addition, we will discuss the regulation, activity and insulin-stimulated trafficking of GLUTs in the CNS, especially in relation to the centrally mediated actions of insulin and glucose.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Chromosome Pairing / physiology*
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / biosynthesis
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics


  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
  • Protein Isoforms