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J Biol Chem. 1994 May 20;269(20):14379-85.

Mechanism of thiamine transport in neuroblastoma cells. Inhibition of a high affinity carrier by sodium channel activators and dependence of thiamine uptake on membrane potential and intracellular ATP.

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  • 1Laboratory of General and Comparative Biochemistry, University of Li├Ęge, Belgium.


Nerve cells are particularly sensitive to thiamine deficiency. We studied thiamine transport in mouse neuroblastoma (Neuro 2a) cells. At low external concentration, [14C]thiamine was taken up through a saturable high affinity mechanism (Km = 35 nM). This was blocked by low concentrations of the Na+ channel activators veratridine (IC50 = 7 +/- 4 microM) and batrachotoxin (IC50 = 0.9 microM). These effects were not antagonized by tetrodotoxin and were also observed in cell lines devoid of Na+ channels, suggesting that these channels are not involved in the mechanism of inhibition. At high extracellular concentrations, thiamine uptake proceeds essentially via a low affinity carrier (Km = 0.8 mM), insensitive to veratridine but blocked by divalent cations. In both cases, the uptake was independent on external sodium, partially inhibited (10-35%) by depolarization and sensitive to metabolic inhibitors. A linear relationship between the rate of thiamine transport and intracellular ATP concentration was found. When cells grown in a medium of low thiamine concentration (6 nM) were exposed to 100 nM extracellular thiamine, a 3-fold increase in intracellular thiamine diphosphate was observed after 2 h while the concomitant increase in intracellular free thiamine was barely significant. These data suggest a secondary active transport of thiamine, the main driving force being thiamine phosphorylation rather than the sodium gradient.

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