Warburg hypothesized that the dysfunctional mitochondria are the root of
aerobic glycolysis. It was termed Warburg
effect by Efraim Racker in the early 1970s. Racker had different theories in
mind ranging from them being imbalances in intracellular pH to defects in
ATPase activity (Liberti
and Locasale, 2016). Following this, many theories were proposed e.g.
adaptation to low oxygen environments within tumors, result of cancer genes
shutting down the mitochondria, which are involved in cells apoptosis program
or maybe just an effect associated with the uncontrolled proliferation of
cancer cells or normal cells for that matter in which this type of metabolism
occurs for a short period during multiplying e.g. embryonic cells but is later
shut down. Nevertheless, the exact function of Warburg effect is still unknown
(Koppenol et al. 2011).
This metabolic pathway is not efficient but rapid with the production of
lactate from glucose occurring at a 10 to100 times faster than glucose
oxidation in mitochondria. This is due to the increased rate of glucose uptake
(Shestov et al., 2014).