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Brain Res. 1999 Apr 3;824(1):97-104.

Expression of the hexose transporters GLUT1 and GLUT2 during the early development of the human brain.

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  • 1Departamento de Histología y Embriología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Casilla 160-C, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción, Chile.


We used immunohistochemistry with anti-glucose transporter antibodies to document the presence of facilitative hexose transporters in the fetal human brain. GLUT1 is expressed in all regions of the fetal brain from ages 10 to 21 weeks. GLUT1 was present in the endothelial cells of the brain capillaries, the epithelial cells of the choroid plexus and neurons. High expression of GLUT2 was observed in the granular layer of the cerebellum in brains 21 weeks old, but GLUT2 immunoreactivity was absent at earlier stages. GLUT3 and GLUT4 immunoreactivities were absent at all stages studied. GLUT5 immunoreactivity was evident only in the cerebellar region of 21-week old fetal brains. We conclude that GLUT1 plays a fundamental role in early human brain development. The data also suggest that the cerebellum of the developing brain has the capacity to transport fructose, a substrate that has not been previously identified as a source of metabolic energy in the adult human brain.

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