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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1998 May 15;107(2):255-64.

Alterations in GLUT1 and GLUT3 glucose transporter gene expression following unilateral hypoxia-ischemia in the immature rat brain.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Hershey Medical Center-Penn State University, P.O. Box 850, Hershey, PA 17033, USA.


The brain damage produced by unilateral cerebral hypoxia-ischemia in the immature rat results from major alterations in cerebral energy metabolism and glucose utilization which begin during the course of the insult and proceed into the recovery period. Consistent with a lack of pathology, the alterations in the hemisphere contralateral to the carotid artery ligation are transient and return to normal within 24 h of recovery, whereas the hemisphere ipsilateral to the ligation exhibits both early and late responses, and infarction. The facilitative glucose transporter proteins mediate glucose transport across the blood-brain barrier (55 kDa GLUT1), and into neurons and glia (GLUT3 and 45 kDa GLUT1), and demonstrate both early and late responses to perinatal hypoxia-ischemia. This study employed in situ hybridization histochemistry to investigate the temporal and regional patterns of GLUT1 and GLUT3 gene expression following a severe (2.5 h) hypoxic-ischemic insult in the 7-day old rat brain. Enhanced GLUT1 mRNA expression was apparent in cerebral microvessels of both hemispheres and remained elevated in the ipsilateral hemisphere through 24 h of recovery, consistent with our previous observation of increased microvascular 55 kDa GLUT1 protein. The expression of the neuronal isoform, GLUT3, was enhanced in penumbral regions, such as piriform cortex and amygdala, but was rapidly reduced in the affected areas of cortex, hippocampus and thalamus, reflecting necrosis. The late response, observed at 72 h of recovery, was characterized by extensive necrosis in the ipsilateral hemisphere, loss of GLUT3 expression, and a gliotic reaction including increased GLUT1 in GFAP-positive astrocytes. This study demonstrates that cerebral hypoxia-ischemia in the immature rat produces both immediate-early and long-term effects on the glucose transporter proteins at the level of gene expression.

Copyright 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.

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