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The red blood cell possess an active metabolic machinery that provides the cell with energy to pump ions against electrochemical gradients, to maintain its shape, to keep hemoglobin iron in the reduced (ferrous) form, and to maintain enzyme and hemoglobin sulfhydryl groups. The main source of metabolic energy comes from glucose. Glucose is metabolized through the glycolytic pathway and through the hexose monophosphate shunt. Glycolysis catabolizes glucose to pyruvate and lactate, which represent the end products of glucose metabolism in the erythrocyte. Adenosine diphosphate (ADP) is phosphorylated to adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)+ is reduced to NADH in glycolysis. 2,3- Bisphosphoglycerate, an important regulator of the oxygen affinity of hemoglobin, is generated during glycolysis by the Rapoport-Luebering shunt. The hexose monophosphate shunt oxidizes glucose-6-phosphate, reducing NADP+ to reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH). The red cell lacks the capacity for de novo purine synthesis but has a salvage pathway that permits synthesis of purine nucleotides from purine bases...
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