Effect of nutritional supplementation on quantities of glucose transporters 1 and 4 in sheep granulosa and theca cells

S.A. Williams, Dominique Blache, Graeme Martin, R. Foot, Margaret Blackberry, R.J. Scaramuzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


The stimulatory effect of nutritional supplementation on ovarian activity in sheep has been linked to an increase in glucose availability that, with insulin, directly decreases follicular steroidogenesis. Glucose uptake occurs by glucose transporters, but it is not known which glucose transporters are present in the sheep ovary or whether they are affected by nutritional stimulation. The aim of this study was to determine whether widely distributed glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1) or insulin-responsive GLUT4 are present in the granulosa or theca cells of sheep ovarian follicles, and whether their concentrations are affected by nutritional stimulation. Merino ewes (n = 49-51 per group) were stimulated nutritionally for 5 days before luteolysis with lupin grain or with one of two regimens of a glucogenic mixture, administered orally, which increases blood glucose concentrations towards the upper end of the normal range. Water was used as a control. Ovaries (n = 3 per group) were dissected and the granulosa cells and thecal shell from individual follicles were examined for glucose transporters using western blotting. GLUT1 concentration was 7-18 times higher in the granulosa than in the theca cells. GLUT4 was detected at a similar concentration in both types of cell. Nutritional treatment had no effect on the concentration of GLUT1 or GLUT4 in either tissue, and did not increase ovulation rate, despite increased concentrations of glucose and insulin. Concentrations of glucose transporters were not correlated with follicular concentrations of oestradiol or androstenedione. The presence of GLUT1 and GLUT4 in the granulosa and theca of sheep follicles indicates that the transporters have a role within the ovary in the modulation of follicular function.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)947-956
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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