Placental glucose transport and GLUT 1 expression in insulin-dependent diabetes

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1999 Jan;180(1 Pt 1):163-8. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(99)70169-9.


Objective: Altered transport functions in the placenta might contribute to adverse outcome of pregnancies in women with diabetes. Therefore we studied placental glucose transport in this pregnancy complication.

Study design: Syncytiotrophoblast microvillous membrane vesicles and basal membrane vesicles were isolated from women with uneventful pregnancies (control subjects, n = 21) and from women with pregnancies complicated by insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, White class D (n = 7). Glucose uptake and GLUT 1 (glucose transporter 1) expression were studied by means of radiolabeled tracers and Western blot, respectively.

Results: In the group with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, values for hemoglobin A1c were moderately elevated in the first trimester (6.61 +/- 0.35) but not later in pregnancy and 4 of the 7 neonates were large for gestational age. In the basal membrane vesicles, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus was associated with a 40% increase in GLUT 1 expression and a 59% higher mediated uptake of d -glucose. No alterations could be demonstrated in microvillus membrane vesicles.

Conclusion: Placental glucose transport capacity appears to be increased in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. These alterations might explain the occurrence of macrosomia despite well-controlled diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Blotting, Western
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucose Transporter Type 1
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Humans
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Diabetics / metabolism*
  • Reference Values


  • Glucose Transporter Type 1
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
  • SLC2A1 protein, human
  • Glucose