Objective: Recent evidence suggests that human chondrocytes express several facilitative glucose transporter (GLUT) isoforms and also that 2-deoxyglucose transport is accelerated by cytokine stimulation. The aim of the present investigation was to determine if human articular chondrocytes express any of the recently identified members of the GLUT/SLC2A gene family and to examine the effects of endocrine factors, such as insulin and IGF-I on the capacity of human chondrocytes for transporting 2-deoxyglucose. Design/methods: PCR, cloning and immunohistochemistry were employed to study the expression of GLUT/SLC2A transporters in normal human articular cartilage. The uptake of 2-deoxyglucose was examined in monolayer cultured immortalized human chondrocytes following stimulation with TNF-α, insulin and IGF-I. Levels of MMP-2 were assessed by gelatin zymography following glucose deprivation of alginate cultures. Results: Using PCR we detected transcripts for eight glucose transporter isoforms (GLUTs 1, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12) and for a fructose transporter (GLUT5) in human articular cartilage. Expression of GLUT1, GLUT3 and GLUT9 proteins in normal human articular cartilage was confirmed by immunohistochemistry. The uptake of 2-deoxyglucose was dependent on time and temperature, inhibited by cytochalasin B and phloretin, and significantly accelerated in chondrocyte cultures stimulated with IGF-I. However, 2-deoxyglucose uptake was unaffected by short and long-term insulin treatment, which ruled out a functional role for insulin-sensitive GLUT4-mediated glucose transport. Furthermore, secretion of MMP-2 was increased in alginate cultures deprived of glucose. Conclusions: The data supports a critical role for glucose transport and metabolism in the synthesis and degradation of cartilage.
- Glucose transport