Gluconeogenesis is a metabolic pathway that results in the generation of glucose from non-carbohydrate carbon substrates such as lactate, glycerol, and glucogenic amino acids. It is one of the two main mechanisms humans and many other animals use to keep blood glucose levels from dropping too low (hypoglycemia). The other means of maintaining blood glucose levels is through the degradation of glycogen (glycogenolysis). Gluconeogenesis is a ubiquitous process, present in plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms.
In animals, this pathway takes place mainly in the liver and, to a lesser extent, in the cortex of kidneys. This process occurs during periods of fasting, starvation, low-carbohydrate diets, or intense exercise and is highly endergonic. For example, the pathway leading from phosphoenolpyruvate to glucose-6-phosphate requires 6 molecules of ATP. Gluconeogenesis is also a target of therapy for type II diabetes, such as metformin, which inhibits glucose formation and stimulates glucose uptake by cells.
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