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Vet J. 2005 Mar;169(2):216-22.

Differential regulation of the GLUT1 and GLUT3 glucose transporters by growth factors and pro-inflammatory cytokines in equine articular chondrocytes.

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  • 1Connective Tissue and Molecular Pathogenesis Research Groups, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZJ, UK.


Glucose serves as the major energy substrate for articular chondrocytes and as the main precursor for the synthesis of extracellular matrix glycosaminoglycans in cartilage. Chondrocytes have been shown to express several glucose transporter (GLUT) isoforms including GLUT1 and GLUT3. The aim of this investigation was to determine the effects of endocrine and cytokine factors on the capacity of equine articular chondrocytes for transporting 2-deoxy-d-[2,6-3H] glucose and on the expression levels of GLUT1 and GLUT3. Chondrocytes maintained in monolayer culture were stimulated for 24 h with TNF-alpha (100 ng mL(-1)), IL-1beta (100 ng mL(-1)), IGF-I (20 ng mL(-1)), TGF-beta (20 ng mL(-1)) and insulin (12.5 microg mL(-1)) before measuring uptake of non-metabolizable 2-deoxyglucose in the presence and absence of the glucose transport inhibitor cytochalasin B. Polyclonal antibodies to GLUT1 and GLUT were used to compare GLUT1 and GLUT3 expression in stimulated and un-stimulated alginate encapsulated chondrocytes by Western blotting. Results indicated that 2-deoxyglucose uptake was inhibited by up to 95% in the presence of cytochalasin B suggesting that glucose uptake into equine chondrocytes is GLUT-mediated. Insulin had no effect on glucose uptake, but treatment with IGF-I, TGF-beta, IL-1beta and TNF-alpha resulted in a significant increase (>65%) in 2-deoxyglucose uptake compared to control values. GLUT1 was found to be increased in chondrocytes stimulated with all the growth factors and cytokines but GLUT 3 was only upregulated by IGF-I. The data presented support a critical role for glucose in the responses of equine articular chondrocytes to pro-inflammatory cytokines and anabolic endocrine factors.

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