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Thread: Why glycolysis in the liver?

  1. #1 Why glycolysis in the liver? 
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    Hello everyone,

    I have a very basic question I guess, but it's really teasing me, so any help would be much appreciated.

    I know that the liver is able to perfrom both glycolysis and gluconeogenesis. Now it's understandable, that it needs to perform gluconeogenesis as to maintain the cori cycle for example. And as we all now, the liver's role is also to maintain the blood sugar level, by transporting glucose to the blood. With that said, why would it then be able to perform glycolysis?

    I am guessing, that it's because it needs to generate ATP as to maintain it self?


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  3. #2  
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    It's not just in the liver.

    If you check the Glycolysis in Disease heading on the wiki page Glycolysis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia you'll see that it's involved in all sorts of processes in all sorts of cells.


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  4. #3  
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    I'm aware of that and that's kind of my point. It's clear to me, that the muscles let's say, performs glycolysis in order to generate ATP used for muscle contraction for example. But whats the purpose of glycolysis in the liver? Does it need ATP to maintain itself or what?
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    Glycolysis is a fundamental metabolic process occurring in all cells of the body. It is an important first step in cellular respiration as well many of its intermediate metabolites linking up with many biosynthetic pathways. It's an essential pathway in the life of a cell.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko View Post
    Glycolysis is a fundamental metabolic process occurring in all cells of the body. It is an important first step in cellular respiration as well many of its intermediate metabolites linking up with many biosynthetic pathways. It's an essential pathway in the life of a cell.
    Like he said.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by mntsh View Post
    I'm aware of that and that's kind of my point. It's clear to me, that the muscles let's say, performs glycolysis in order to generate ATP used for muscle contraction for example. But whats the purpose of glycolysis in the liver? Does it need ATP to maintain itself or what?
    Your question is a clever question wrapped up in a simple question, in my opinion. Also in my opinion, undoubtedly the liver would benefit from ATP for its own use by the glycolysis pathway but surely Kreb's Cycle releases far more ATP after the pyruvate is fully metabolised?

    Animation: How Glycolysis Works

    Animation: How the Krebs Cycle Works (Quiz 1)

    Bearing in mind the 100 or so biochemical functions performed by the liver which would be in need of chemical potential energy in the form of ATP, I would also expect a higher number of mitochondria per cell than less biochemicaly active cells, and this seems to be the case:
    The number of mitochondria per cell varies widely; for example, in humans, erythrocytes (red blood cells) do not contain any mitochondria, whereas liver cells and muscle cells may contain hundreds or even thousands. Mitochondria are unlike other cellular organelles in that they have two distinct membranesand a unique genome and reproduce by binary fission; these features indicate that mitochondria share an evolutionary past with prokaryotes(single-celled organisms).
    mitochondrion (biology) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia
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  8. #7  
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    Thank you for your answers, especially jimmy, it's quite clear to me now When I think about it, an example could be the signaling pathways which also require ATP in a number of phosphorylation. I guess I was just being to narrow minded when considering the ATP usage and only relating it to muscle contraction or other simple processes
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