Does a Hypertrophying Muscle Fibre Reprogramme its Metabolism Similar to a Cancer Cell?

Henning Wackerhage, Ivan J. Vechetti, Philipp Baumert, Sebastian Gehlert, Lore Becker, Richard T. Jaspers, Martin Hrabě de Angelis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In 1924, Otto Warburg asked “How does the metabolism of a growing tissue differ from that of a non-growing tissue?” Currently, we know that proliferating healthy and cancer cells reprogramme their metabolism. This typically includes increased glucose uptake, glycolytic flux and lactate synthesis. A key function of this reprogramming is to channel glycolytic intermediates and other metabolites into anabolic reactions such as nucleotide-RNA/DNA synthesis, amino acid-protein synthesis and the synthesis of, for example, acetyl and methyl groups for epigenetic modification. In this review, we discuss evidence that a hypertrophying muscle similarly takes up more glucose and reprogrammes its metabolism to channel energy metabolites into anabolic pathways. We specifically discuss the functions of the cancer-associated enzymes phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase and pyruvate kinase muscle 2 in skeletal muscle. In addition, we ask whether increased glucose uptake by a hypertrophying muscle explains why muscularity is often negatively associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2569-2578
Number of pages10
JournalSports Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022


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