5 years ago

Understanding intestinal glucose transporter expression in obese compared to non-obese subjects

Reid Fletcher, Rebecca A. Deal, Philip Omotosho, Yueming Tang, Alfonso Torquati



The impact of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) on weight loss and co-morbid disease resolution is well established. However, the mechanisms underlying the procedure remain incompletely understood. Intestinal remodeling involving glucose transporters (GLUTs) may play a crucial role. Rat studies have demonstrated morphological adaptation of GLUTs within adipose and intestinal cells in association with the reprogramming of glucose metabolism. There is a limited understanding of the variations in expression amongst GLUT family receptors in the human intestine. The aim of this study was to evaluate and describe jejunal GLUT expression patterns in the obese versus non-obese.


Tissue samples were collected from 19 adults (age ≥18) patients with morbid obesity undergoing elective RYGB. Specimens were obtained from excess jejunum removed during the stapled jejuno-jejunal anastomosis. All subjects met National Institutes of Health criteria for bariatric surgery (body mass index or BMI ≥40 or ≥35 with obesity-related comorbidities). Exclusion criteria included age less than 18, age greater than 65, patients undergoing a revision procedure, and the presence of a seizure disorder (possible association with GLUT-1 deficiency syndrome). Five samples were obtained from non-obese subjects (average BMI 26.7) without diabetes who were consenting organ donors after brain death. Samples of jejunum from non-obese individuals were obtained at the time of organ procurement. Institutional Review Board and Gift of Hope approval was obtained. Specimens underwent quantitative real-time PCR and Western blotting. Western blot densitometry was performed using Image J software. Student T test was performed using SPSS statistics software.


GLUT-1 and GLUT-7 expression were not detected in the jejunum of either group. No difference in expression pattern was observed for GLUT-2, GLUT-4, and GLUT-9 between the groups. Western blot band density of GLUT-5 to loading control (GADPH) mean ratio was 0.21 (SD = 0.20) in obese specimens compared to 0.56 (SD = 0.17) in non-obese. Densitometry revealed GLUT-5 levels in the jejunum of the obese were significantly lower than non-obese specimens (P < 0.05).


The absence of GLUT-1 expression in both the obese and non-obese groups is consistent with the established view of GLUT-1 being abundantly present in fetal intestine but diminished to negligible levels by adulthood. Decreased GLUT-5 expression in samples from subjects with obesity compared to non-obese samples may represent a down-regulation of gene expression amongst the obese. The differential expression of GLUT-5 suggests a possible role in obesity. Studies of GLUT family expression will aid in understanding the impact of intestinal remodeling on obesity.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00464-017-5858-5

DOI: 10.1007/s00464-017-5858-5

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