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Thyroid. 2012 Oct;22(10):1063-8. doi: 10.1089/thy.2012.0041. Epub 2012 Sep 6.

AMP-activated protein kinase upregulates glucose uptake in thyroid PCCL3 cells independent of thyrotropin.

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Laboratory of Endocrine Physiology, Carlos Chagas Filho Institute of Biophysics, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.



Glucose is transported into cells by specific glucose transporter proteins (GLUTs) that are widely expressed in a tissue-specific manner. The mechanisms that regulate glucose uptake and metabolism in thyroid cells are poorly defined. Recently, our group showed that AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) plays a pivotal role in the rat thyroid gland, downregulating iodide uptake by thyroid cells even in the presence of its main stimulator thyrotropin (TSH). Since AMPK increases glucose uptake in different tissues, and taken into consideration that in pathophysiological conditions such as thyroid cancer a negative correlation between iodide and glucose uptake occurs, we hypothesized that AMPK might modulate glucose uptake in thyroid cells.


Rat follicular thyroid PCCL3 cells cultivated in Ham's F-12 supplemented with 5% calf serum and hormones were exposed to the AMPK pharmacological activator 5-aminoimidazole-4 carboxamide ribonucleoside (AICAR) or AMPK antagonist compound C for 24 hours either in the presence or absence of TSH. Glucose uptake was assessed in vitro using 2-deoxy-D-[(3)H]glucose.


AMPK activation by AICAR induced a significant increase in glucose uptake by PCCL3 cells, an effect that was completely reversed by the AMPK inhibitor compound C. Also, the AICAR mediated increase in glucose uptake was detected either in the presence or absence of TSH. The mechanism by which AICAR increases glucose uptake is related to higher levels of GLUT 1 protein content and hexokinase (HK) activity in thyroid cells.


Our results show that AMPK activation significantly upregulates GLUT 1 content and glucose uptake, and it also stimulates hexokinase activity, the first step of glycolysis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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