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Cell Tissue Res. 1994 Jun;276(3):411-8.

Immunolocalization of glucose transporter GLUT1 in the rat placental barrier: possible role of GLUT1 and the gap junction in the transport of glucose across the placental barrier.

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Department of Anatomy, Kyorin University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


GLUT1 is an isoform of facilitated-diffusion glucose transporters and has been shown to be abundant in cells of blood-tissue barriers. Using antibodies against GLUT1, we investigated the immunohistochemical localization of GLUT1 in the rat placenta. Rat placenta is of the hemotrichorial type. Three cell layers (from the maternal blood side inward) cytotrophoblast and syncytiotrophoblasts I and II, lie between the maternal and fetal bloodstreams. GLUT1 was abundant along the invaginating plasma membrane facing the cytotrophoblast and the syncytiotrophoblast I. Also, the infolded basal plasma membrane of the syncytiotrophoblast II was rich in GLUT1. Apposing plasma membranes of syncytiotrophoblasts I and II, however, had only a small amount of GLUT1. Numerous gap junctions were seen between syncytiotrophoblasts I and II. Taking into account the localization of GLUT1 and the gap junctions, we suggest a possible major transport route of glucose across the placental barrier, as follows: glucose in the maternal blood passes freely through pores of the cytotrophoblast. Glucose is then transported into the cytoplasm of the syncytiotrophoblast I via GLUT1. Glucose enters the syncytiotrophoblast II through the gap junctions. Finally glucose leaves the syncytiotrophoblast II via GLUT1 and enters the fetal blood through pores of the endothelial cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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