September 1958

A Recently Recognized Pathway for Glucose Catabolism—Pentose Phosphate Pathway

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1958;102(3):493-500. doi:10.1001/archinte.1958.00030010493025

Progress in biological chemistry during the past few decades has led to better understanding of many problems in clinical medicine. Only rather recently it became apparent that pathways other than the classical Embden-Meyerhof (anaerobic glycolysis) are operative in glucose catabolism by mammalian tissues. Following the pioneer investigations of Warburg, Lipmann, and Dickens, and recently those of Horecker, Racker, and others, the existence of an alternate pathway for glucose catabolism has been recognized. This schema has been called the hexose monophosphate shunt, the glucose oxidative pathway, or the pentose phosphate pathway and involves a series of reactions in which phosphorylated sugars with three, four, five, six, and seven carbon atoms (triose, tetrose, pentose, hexose, and heptose phosphates) occur as substrates and intermediates.

Recognition of this catabolic route has stimulated investigation into its possible role in both normal and abnormal mammalian metabolism. The purpose of this paper is to outline