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hexose-monophosphate shunt

hexose-monophosphate shunt (pentose-phosphate shunt) A metabolic pathway, alternative to that of glycolysis, of carbohydrate interconversion: hexose-6-phosphate is converted into pentose-phosphate and carbon dioxide. The principal functions of the pathway are the production of deoxyribose and ribose sugars for nucleic-acid synthesis; the generation of reducing power in the form of NADPH for fatty-acid and/or steroid synthesis; and the interconversion of carbohydrates. In animals, the pathway occurs mainly in tissues that synthesize steroids and fatty acids (e.g. liver, mammary glands, and adrenal gland).

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