Experimental type II diabetes and related models of impaired glucose metabolism differentially regulate glucose transporters at the proximal tubule brush border membrane

Exp Physiol. 2016 Jun 1;101(6):731-42. doi: 10.1113/EP085670. Epub 2016 May 10.


What is the central question of this study? Although SGLT2 inhibitors represent a promising treatment for patients suffering from diabetic nephropathy, the influence of metabolic disruption on the expression and function of glucose transporters is largely unknown. What is the main finding and its importance? In vivo models of metabolic disruption (Goto-Kakizaki type II diabetic rat and junk-food diet) demonstrate increased expression of SGLT1, SGLT2 and GLUT2 in the proximal tubule brush border. In the type II diabetic model, this is accompanied by increased SGLT- and GLUT-mediated glucose uptake. A fasted model of metabolic disruption (high-fat diet) demonstrated increased GLUT2 expression only. The differential alterations of glucose transporters in response to varying metabolic stress offer insight into the therapeutic value of inhibitors. SGLT2 inhibitors are now in clinical use to reduce hyperglycaemia in type II diabetes. However, renal glucose reabsorption across the brush border membrane (BBM) is not completely understood in diabetes. Increased consumption of a Western diet is strongly linked to type II diabetes. This study aimed to investigate the adaptations that occur in renal glucose transporters in response to experimental models of diet-induced insulin resistance. The study used Goto-Kakizaki type II diabetic rats and normal rats rendered insulin resistant using junk-food or high-fat diets. Levels of protein kinase C-βI (PKC-βI), GLUT2, SGLT1 and SGLT2 were determined by Western blotting of purified renal BBM. GLUT- and SGLT-mediated d-[(3) H]glucose uptake by BBM vesicles was measured in the presence and absence of the SGLT inhibitor phlorizin. GLUT- and SGLT-mediated glucose transport was elevated in type II diabetic rats, accompanied by increased expression of GLUT2, its upstream regulator PKC-βI and SGLT1 protein. Junk-food and high-fat diet feeding also caused higher membrane expression of GLUT2 and its upstream regulator PKC-βI. However, the junk-food diet also increased SGLT1 and SGLT2 levels at the proximal tubule BBM. Glucose reabsorption across the proximal tubule BBM, via GLUT2, SGLT1 and SGLT2, is not solely dependent on glycaemic status, but is also influenced by diet-induced changes in glucose metabolism. We conclude that different metabolic disturbances result in complex adaptations in renal glucose transporter protein levels and function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glucose Transport Proteins, Facilitative / metabolism*
  • Glucose Transporter Type 2 / metabolism
  • Hyperglycemia / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Membranes / metabolism*
  • Protein Kinase C / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 1 / metabolism
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 / metabolism


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glucose Transport Proteins, Facilitative
  • Glucose Transporter Type 2
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 1
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2
  • Protein Kinase C
  • Glucose