Glucose is the major source of energy for the brain and inadequate glucose supply causes damage of neuronal cells. In this study we employed the human neuroblastoma cell line SH-SY5Y, as an in vitro model for neuronal cells, to identify genes regulated by glucose deprivation. Using subtractive hybridisation screen, validated by Northern analysis, we identify for the first time specific targets of the glucopenic response. These genes are involved in key cellular process including gene transcription, protein synthesis, mitochondrial metabolism, neuronal development, neuroprotection and neuronal apoptosis. Our findings suggest that the fate of neuronal cells undergoing glucose starvation relies on complex gene interactions. Modulation of the expression of these genes in vivo will enable determination of the precise role of each gene and possibly identify key elements and potential therapeutic targets of the glucopenic response.