Background: Glucose is the main energy component of cellular activities. However, as a polar molecule,
glucose cannot freely pass through the phospholipid bilayer structure of the cell membrane. Thus, glucose must rely
on specific transporters in the membrane. Drugs with a similar chemical structure to glucose may also be transported
through this pathway.
Methods: This review describes the structure, distribution, action mechanism and influencing factors of glucose
transporters and introduces the natural drugs mediated by these transporters and drug design strategies on the basis of
Results: The glucose transporters involved in glucose transport are of two major types, namely, Na+-dependent and
Na+-independent transporters. Glucose transporters can help some glycoside drugs cross the biological membrane.
The transmembrane potential is influenced by the chemical structure of drugs. Glucose can be used to modify drugs
and improve their ability to cross biological barriers.
Conclusion: The membrane transport mechanism of some glycoside drugs may be related to glucose transporters.
Glucose modification may improve the oral bioavailability of drugs or achieve targeted drug delivery.