Several reports have suggested a characteristic decrease in glucose use in the striatum of patients with Huntington's disease (HD) may contribute to the cellular atrophy of the caudate and putamen. We examined the expression of the two major glucose transporter isoforms of brain, GLUT1 and GLUT3. GLUT1 is found largely in capillary endothelial cells and to a lesser extent in the brain parenchyma, whereas GLUT3 is localized primarily in neurons. Membranes prepared from postmortem samples of HD caudate and cortex and non-HD caudate and cortex were separated on 10% sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gels and probed with antisera to GLUT1 and GLUT3 by western blotting. Compared with controls, GLUT1 and GLUT3 transporter expression in caudate was decreased by three- and fourfold, respectively, in grade 3 of the disease. At earlier stages (grade 1), there was no significant difference in the expression of the two transporter isoforms compared with nondiseased controls. It is surprising that despite a substantial increase in glial fibrillary acidic protein immunoreactivity (an indicator of the extent of gliosis), glucose transporter expression was diminished significantly in HD caudate. The results suggest in the absence of a significant number of neurons, as in grade 3, glial cell GLUT1 and GLUT3 expression is down-regulated, perhaps reflecting the decreased metabolic demand of this brain region in HD.