In mature animals, the "HepG2/erythroid/brain" glucose transporter isoform (GLUT1) appears to be expressed at the highest levels at blood tissue barriers; however, these levels may still be lower than the levels of expression seen in fetal tissues. Also, glucose transporters might serve as water channels. Therefore, we decided to investigate GLUT1 expression in human epidermis, a very active tissue, in terms of metabolism, even if not directly vascularized. We found GLUT1 transcripts in human skin and demonstrated, by immunohistochemistry, that GLUT1 protein is highly expressed in the basal layer and, to a lower extent, in the immediately suprabasal layer of the epidermis. This distribution pattern suggested that GLUT1 expression is affected by keratinocyte differentiation. To investigate this possibility, we used human epidermis reconstituted in culture. Our culture system allows the reconstruction of a stratified squamous epithelium which has been successfully grafted onto patients presenting large skin defects. Human keratinocytes have been cultured under conditions which allow a modulation of cellular differentiation and stratification. We observed that (i) GLUT1 expression is 4-6-fold higher in "stem-like" basal cells than in large, differentiated keratinocytes; (ii) culture conditions causing cell differentiation reduce GLUT1 expression, while conditions which minimize either differentiation or stratification of keratinocytes enhance GLUT1 expression. Finally, we found that IGF-1 and insulin, probably acting through the IGF-1 receptor, increase GLUT1 expression and stimulate glucose transport activity in epidermis reconstituted in culture. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that GLUT1 is highly expressed in the basal layers of human epidermis and that its expression is modulated by keratinocyte differentiation.
"HepG2/erythroid/brain" type glucose transporter (GLUT1) is highly expressed in human epidermis: keratinocyte differentiation affects GLUT1 levels in reconstituted epidermis / Gherzi, R; Melioli, G; DE LUCA, Michele; D'Agostino, A; Distefano, G; Guastella, M; D'Anna, F; Franzi, A. T; Cancedda, R.. - In: JOURNAL OF CELLULAR PHYSIOLOGY. - ISSN 0021-9541. - STAMPA. - 150:(1992), pp. 463-474. [10.1002/jcp.1041500306]