A high glycolytic flux supports the proliferative potential of murine embryonic stem cells

Antioxid Redox Signal. 2007 Mar;9(3):293-9. doi: 10.1089/ars.2006.1467.


Embryonic stem (ES) cells are immortal and present the ability to self-renew while retaining their ability to differentiate. In contrast, most primary cells possess a limited proliferative potential, and when this is exhausted, undergo an irreversible growth arrest termed senescence. In primary cells, senescence can be also triggered by a variety of stress to which ES cells are highly refractory. Here the authors report that the proliferative capacity of murine ES cells closely correlates with high activity of different glycolytic enzymes, elevated glycolytic flux, and low mitochondrial oxygen consumption. The direct relation between glycolytic flux and the ability of ES cells to proliferate is further remarked in experiments where glycolysis or ES cell self-renewal was specifically inhibited. It was previously reported that the upregulation of glycolysis in primary cells results in life span extension. The authors hypothesize that the naturally high glycolytic flux observed in murine ES cells can be responsible for their unlimited proliferative potential.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Glycolysis*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitochondria / physiology
  • Oxygen Consumption