Histamine H1 and H3 receptor activation increases the expression of Glucose Transporter 1 (GLUT-1) in rat cerebro-cortical astrocytes in primary culture

Neurochem Int. 2019 Dec;131:104565. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2019.104565. Epub 2019 Oct 3.


Astrocytes take up glucose via the 45 kDa isoform of the Glucose Transporter 1 (GLUT-1), and in this work we have investigated whether histamine regulates GLUT-1 expression in rat cerebro-cortical astrocytes in primary culture. Cultured astrocytes expressed histamine H1 and H3 receptors (H1Rs and H3Rs) as evaluated by radioligand binding. Receptor functionality was confirmed by the increase in the intracellular concentration of Ca2+ (H1R) and the inhibition of forskolin-induced cAMP accumulation (H3R). Quantitative RT-PCR showed that histamine and selective H1R and H3R agonists (1 h incubation) significantly increased GLUT-1 mRNA to 153 ± 7, 163 ± 2 and 168 ± 13% of control values, respectively. In immunoblot assays, incubation (3 h) with histamine or H1R and H3R agonists increased GLUT-1 protein levels to 224 ± 12, 305 ± 11 and 193 ± 13% of control values, respectively, an action confirmed by inmunocytochemistry. The effects of H1R and H3R agonists were blocked by the selective antagonists mepyramine (H1R) and clobenpropit (H3R). The pharmacological inhibition of protein kinase C (PKC) prevented the increase in GLUT-1 protein induced by either H1R or H3R activation. Furthermore, histamine increased ERK-1/2 phosphorylation, and the effect of H1R and H3R activation on GLUT-1 protein levels was reduced or prevented, respectively, by MEK-1/2 inhibition. These results indicate that by activating H1Rs and H3Rs histamine regulates the expression of GLUT-1 by astrocytes. The effect appears to involve the phospholipase C (PLC) → diacylglycerol (DAG)/Ca2+→ PKC and PLC → DAG/Ca2+ → PKC → MAPK pathways.

Keywords: Astrocytes; GLUT-1; Glucose transport; Histamine; Histamine H(1) receptor; Histamine H(3) receptor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Astrocytes / metabolism*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex / drug effects
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism*
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism
  • Glucose Transporter Type 1 / biosynthesis*
  • Histamine / metabolism
  • Histamine Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / drug effects
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Histamine H1 / drug effects
  • Receptors, Histamine H1 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Histamine H3 / drug effects
  • Receptors, Histamine H3 / metabolism


  • Glucose Transporter Type 1
  • Histamine Agonists
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Receptors, Histamine H1
  • Receptors, Histamine H3
  • Slc2a1 protein, rat
  • Histamine
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Calcium