2008 Volume 29 Issue 6 Pages 297-306
Peripheral nerves express GLUT1 in both endoneurial blood vessels and the perineurium and utilize glucose as a major energy substrate, as does the brain. However, under conditions of a reduced utilization of glucose, the brain is dependent upon monocarboxylates such as ketone bodies and lactate, being accompanied by an elevated expression of a monocarboxylate transporter (MCT1) in the blood-brain barrier. The present immunohistochemical study aimed to examine the expression of MCT1 in the peripheral nerves of mice. MCT1 immunoreactivity was found in the perineurial sheath and colocalized with GLUT1, while the endoneurial blood vessels expressed GLUT1 only. An intense expression of MCT1 in the perineurium was confirmed by Western blot and in situ hybridization analyses. Ultrastructurally, the MCT1 and GLUT1 immunoreactivities in the thick perineurium showed an intensity gradient decreasing towards the innermost layer. In neonates, the MCT1 immunoreactivity in the perineurium was intense, while the GLUT1 immunoreactivity was faint or absent. These findings suggest that peripheral nerves depend on monocarboxylates as a major energy source and that MCT1 in the perineurium is responsible for the supply of monocarboxylates to nerve fibers and Schwann cells.