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StatPearls . Sweetheart Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-.



Through the process of glycolysis, one molecule of glucose breaks down to form two molecules of pyruvate. Relying on the microcellular atmosphere (specifically, oxygen availability, energy demand, and the visibility or lack of mitochondria), pyruvate has several different fates:

In mitochondria-containing cells, pyruvate can go into the citric mountain cycle in ~ the mitochondrial matrix and also undergo oxidative phosphorylation. Aptly named because of its dependency on oxygen as the last electron acceptor, oxidative phosphorylation cannot take place in the absence of oxygen. Moreover, as the enzymes of both the citric acid cycle and electron carry chain space within the mitochondria, cells doing not have mitochondria (e.g., erythrocytes) cannot rely on oxidative phosphorylation for energy production.

In erythrocytes and oxygen-deprived tissue, pyruvate stays within the cytoplasm and converts come lactate, a process referred to together anaerobic glycolysis. This final reaction permits for the regeneration of NAD+, a cofactor that must be accessible in high enough intracellular concentrations for the earlier reactions that glycolysis to remain favorable. Compared to oxidative phosphorylation, however, anaerobic glycolysis is considerably less efficient, offering a net manufacturing of just 2 ATP per glucose molecule (versus 32 ATP per glucose molecule produced during oxidative phosphorylation).<1>


Glycolysis is the process by i beg your pardon glucose is broken down in ~ the cytoplasm that a cell to type pyruvate. Under aerobic conditions, pyruvate deserve to diffuse into mitochondria, whereby it enters the citric mountain cycle and also generates reduce equivalents in the type of NADH and also FADH2. These reducing equivalents then get in the electron deliver chain, bring about the production of 32 ATP per molecule of glucose. Due to the fact that the electron deliver chain requires oxygen as the final electron acceptor, inadequate tissue oxygenation inhibits the process of oxidative phosphorylation.

Under anaerobic conditions, pyruvate has actually a different fate. Instead of start mitochondria, the cytosolic enzyme lactate dehydrogenase switch pyruvate to lactate. Although lactate chin is not utilized by the cell as a straight energy source, this reaction also allows for the renewal of NAD+ native NADH. NAD+ is an oxidizing cofactor essential to preserve the circulation of glucose through glycolysis. Glycolysis to produce 2 ATP per glucose molecule, and also thus gives a direct way of developing energy in the lack of oxygen. This procedure of breaking under glucose in the absence of oxygen is aptly named anaerobic glycolysis.<1>

Additionally, cell that perform not save mitochondria (e.g., erythrocytes) cannot perform oxidative phosphorylation.<2> The enzyme of the citric acid cycle space in the mitochondrial matrix, and also the enzymes of the electron carry chain are embedded within the within mitochondrial membrane. Consequently, these cells depend on anaerobic glycolysis for ATP production regardless of oxygen concentrations.

Issues of Concern

Relative to oxidative phosphorylation, i m sorry maximizes the energy potential the a solitary glucose molecule (approximately 32 molecules of ATP every 1 molecule that glucose), glycolysis is one inefficient method of energy production. Glycolysis produces only two network molecules the ATP every 1 molecule of glucose. However, in cells doing not have mitochondria and/or sufficient oxygen supply, glycolysis is the sole process by which together cells can develop ATP from glucose. Additionally, in maximally contract skeletal muscle, glycolysis is a rapid and fairly efficient means of meeting short-term energy goals.


Anaerobic glycolysis serves together a means of power production in cells that cannot develop adequate energy through oxidative phosphorylation. In poorly oxygenated tissue, glycolysis to produce 2 ATP through shunting pyruvate away from mitochondria and also through the lactate dehydrogenase reaction.<1> In quickly contracting skeleton muscle cells through energy need exceeding what deserve to be created by oxidative phosphorylation alone, anaerobic glycolysis enables for the more rapid manufacturing of ATP.<3> (Glycolysis is about 100 times much faster than oxidative phosphorylation.) In cells lacking mitochondria altogether, pyruvate cannot undergo oxidative phosphorylation nevertheless of oxygen levels.

Mature erythrocytes do not save on computer mitochondria and thus rely exclusively on anaerobic glycolysis because that ATP production.<2> various other tissues, such as the cornea and also lens that the eye and also inner medulla that the kidney, are poorly vascularized and rely greatly on anaerobic glycolysis despite the existence of mitochondria.<4><5>

Glucose it s okay phosphorylated by hexokinase, forming glucose-6-phosphate. This step needs one molecule the ATP.
Fructose-6-phosphate is phosphorylated by phosphofructokinase to kind fructose-1,6-bisphosphate. This step needs one molecule that ATP.
Fructose-1,6-bisphosphate is split into two different sugar molecules, dihydroxyacetone phosphate and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate, by aldolase.
The molecule of dihydroxyacetone phosphate is isomerized by triosephosphate isomerase to kind a 2nd glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate.
Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate is phosphorylated by glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase to kind 1,3-bisphosphoglycerate. This step calls for NAD+ together a cofactor.
1,3-bisphosphoglycerate is converted to 3-phosphoglycerate by phosphoglycerate kinase. This step entails the carry of a phosphate molecule to ADP to form 1 molecule of ATP.
Phosphoenolpyruvate is convert to pyruvate by pyruvate kinase. This step entails the carry of a phosphate molecule come ADP to kind 1 molecule of ATP.

The microenvironment that the cell determines the fate the pyruvate adhering to the early stage ten measures of glycolysis. If a cabinet lacks mitochondria, is poorly oxygenated, or energy need has rapidly raised to exceed the price at which oxidative phosphorylation can provide sufficient ATP, pyruvate have the right to be convert to lactate through the enzyme lactate dehydrogenase.<1> This step requires the oxidation of NADH to NAD+, allowing glycolysis to proceed through the glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase reaction (step #6, view above).

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Lactic acid, the finish product the anaerobic glycolysis, is commonly measured in the inpatient setting. Due to the fact that anaerobic glycolysis predominates as soon as tissue is poorly oxygenated or perfused, lactic acid levels are valuable in directing the management of significant sepsis, shock, blood loss, anemia, or heart failure. Hyperlactatemia and also lactic acidosis room indicative that inefficient cardiac output and are associated with raised morbidity and mortality.<6><7><8>