Functional expression of SGLTs in rat brain

Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2010 Dec;299(6):C1277-84. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00296.2010. Epub 2010 Sep 8.


This work provides evidence of previously unrecognized uptake of glucose via sodium-coupled glucose transporters (SGLTs) in specific regions of the brain. The current understanding of functional glucose utilization in brain is largely based on studies using positron emission tomography (PET) with the glucose tracer 2-deoxy-2-[F-18]fluoro-D-glucose (2-FDG). However, 2-FDG is only a good substrate for facilitated-glucose transporters (GLUTs), not for SGLTs. Thus, glucose accumulation measured by 2-FDG omits the role of SGLTs. We designed and synthesized two high-affinity tracers: one, α-methyl-4-[F-18]fluoro-4-deoxy-D-glucopyranoside (Me-4FDG), is a highly specific SGLT substrate and not transported by GLUTs; the other one, 4-[F-18]fluoro-4-deoxy-D-glucose (4-FDG), is transported by both SGLTs and GLUTs and will pass through the blood brain barrier (BBB). In vitro Me-4FDG autoradiography was used to map the distribution of uptake by functional SGLTs in brain slices with a comparable result from in vitro 4-FDG autoradiography. Immunohistochemical assays showed that uptake was consistent with the distribution of SGLT protein. Ex vivo 4-FDG autoradiography showed that SGLTs in these areas are functionally active in the normal in vivo brain. The results establish that SGLTs are a normal part of the physiology of specific areas of the brain, including hippocampus, amygdala, hypothalamus, and cerebral cortices. 4-FDG PET imaging also established that this BBB-permeable SGLT tracer now offers a functional imaging approach in humans to assess regulation of SGLT activity in health and disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Deoxyglucose / analogs & derivatives
  • Deoxyglucose / chemical synthesis
  • Deoxyglucose / metabolism
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucosides / chemical synthesis
  • Glucosides / metabolism
  • Glutamate Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sodium-Glucose Transport Proteins / analysis
  • Sodium-Glucose Transport Proteins / metabolism*


  • 4-fluoro-4-deoxyglucose
  • Glucosides
  • Glutamate Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Sodium-Glucose Transport Proteins
  • methyl-4-fluoro-4-deoxyglucose
  • Deoxyglucose
  • Glucose