Excess fructose intake is associated with obesity, fatty liver, tooth decay, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. Even after the ingestion of fructose, fructose concentration in the portal blood is never high; fructose is further metabolized in the liver, and the blood fructose concentration is 1/100th of the glucose concentration. It was previously thought that fructose was metabolized in the liver and not in the small intestine, but it has been reported that metabolism in the small intestine also plays an important role in fructose metabolism. Glut5 knockout mice exhibit poor fructose absorption. In addition, endogenous fructose production via the polyol pathway has also received attention; gene deletion of aldose reductase (Ar), ketohexokinase (Khk), and triokinase (Tkfc) has been found to prevent the development of fructose-induced liver lipidosis. Carbohydrate response element-binding protein (Chrebp) regulates the expression of Glut5, Khk, aldolase b, and Tkfc. We review fructose metabolism with a focus on the roles of the glucose-activating transcription factor Chrebp, fructolysis, and the polyol pathway.
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