Aerobic glycolysis and lymphocyte transformation

D A Hume, J L Radik, E Ferber, M J Weidemann

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1. The role of enhanced aerobic glycolysis in the transformation of rat thymocytes by concanavalin A has been investigated. Concanavalin A addition doubled [U-(14)C]glucose uptake by rat thymocytes over 3h and caused an equivalent increased incorporation into protein, lipids and RNA. A disproportionately large percentage of the extra glucose taken up was converted into lactate, but concanavalin A also caused a specific increase in pyruvate oxidation, leading to an increase in the percentage contribution of glucose to the respiratory fuel. 2. Acetoacetate metabolism, which was not affected by concanavalin A, strongly suppressed pyruvate oxidation in the presence of [U-(14)C]glucose, but did not prevent the concanavalin A-induced stimulation of this process. Glucose uptake was not affected by acetoacetate in the presence or absence of concanavalin A, but in each case acetoacetate increased the percentage of glucose uptake accounted for by lactate production. 3. [(3)H]Thymidine incorporation into DNA in concanavalin A-treated thymocyte cultures was sensitive to the glucose concentration in the medium in a biphasic manner. Very low concentrations of glucose (25mum) stimulated DNA synthesis half-maximally, but maximum [(3)H]thymidine incorporation was observed only when the glucose concentration was raised to 1mm. Lactate addition did not alter the sensitivity of [(3)H]-thymidine uptake to glucose, but inosine blocked the effect of added glucose and strongly inhibited DNA synthesis. 4. It is suggested that the major function of enhanced aerobic glycolysis in transforming lymphocytes is to maintain higher steady-state amounts of glycolytic intermediates to act as precursors for macromolecule synthesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-9
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 1978


  • Acetoacetates
  • Aerobiosis
  • Animals
  • Concanavalin A
  • DNA
  • Glycolysis
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Male
  • Rats
  • T-Lymphocytes
  • Thymus Gland


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