Near-critical GLUT1 and Neurodegeneration

J Neurosci Res. 2017 Nov;95(11):2267-2274. doi: 10.1002/jnr.23998. Epub 2017 Feb 2.


Recent articles have drawn renewed attention to the housekeeping glucose transporter GLUT1 and its possible involvement in neurodegenerative diseases. Here we provide an updated analysis of brain glucose transport and the cellular mechanisms involved in its acute modulation during synaptic activity. We discuss how the architecture of the blood-brain barrier and the low concentration of glucose within neurons combine to make endothelial/glial GLUT1 the master controller of neuronal glucose utilization, while the regulatory role of the neuronal glucose transporter GLUT3 emerges as secondary. The near-critical condition of glucose dynamics in the brain suggests that subtle deficits in GLUT1 function or its activity-dependent control by neurons may contribute to neurodegeneration. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords: Alzheimer disease; GLUT1 deficiency; Slc2a1; astrocyte; endothelium; glucose transporter.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucose Transporter Type 1 / deficiency
  • Glucose Transporter Type 1 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / pathology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neurons / pathology


  • Glucose Transporter Type 1
  • Glucose