Hyperglycemia has been implicated in the pathogenesis of both micro- and macrovascular complications in diabetes. Little is known, however, about glucose transporters and their regulation in thevascular system. In this study, the regulation of glucose transporters by glucose was examined in cultured BAECs and BSMCs, and in human arterial smooth muscle cells. Both BAECs and BSMCs transported glucose via the facilitated diffusion transport system. Glucose-transport activity in vascular smooth muscle cells was inversely and reversibly regulated by glucose. Exposure of BSMCs and HSMCs to high glucose decreased Vmax for 2DG and 3-O-MG uptake, whereas Km remained unchanged. The hexose-transport system of BAECs exhibited lower 2DG and 3-O-MG uptake compared with BSMCs and showed little or no adaptation to changes in ambient glucose. Northern blot analysis. GLUT1 protein, quantified by Western blot analysis, was more abundant in BSMCs than in BAECs and was decreased by ∼50% when medium glucose was elevated from 1.2 to 22 mM for 24 h. The alterations in the level of GLUT1 protein correlated with the changes observed in transport activity. These observations suggest differential regulation of glucose transporter in response to glucose between smooth muscle and endothelial cells. The sites of autoregulation may involve translational control and/or the stability of the protein in the smooth muscle cells. The ability of vascular smooth muscle cells to down-regulate glucose transport in response to chronic hyperglycemia may serve as a protective mechanism against possible adverse effects of increased intracellular glucose.

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