Polyol Pathway (Homo sapiens)

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1-3Dihydroxyacetone phosphateGlycolysisALDOBGlyceraldehydeD-FructoseGlycolysisFructose 1-phosphateD-Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphateD-GlucoseSorbitolSORDALR2Fructokinase


When glucose is unused, it is metabolized via the polyol pathway. This pathway consists of two main enzymatic steps. First, glucose is reduced to sorbitol by aldose reductase. In this step, NADPH is oxidized to NADP+. The next step is the oxidation of sorbitol to D-fructose by sorbitol dehydrogenase.

Fructose can then be phosphorylated by fructokinase and subsequently be metabolized via dihydroxyacetone phosphate or glyceraldehyde to D-glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate, which can be used as a substrate in the process of glycolysis.

The sorbitol pathway plays a role in diabetic renal complications because aldose reductase metabolizes the excess of glucose to toxic metabolites that induce hyperfiltration and glomerular dysfunction.

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Ontology Terms



  1. Brownlee M; ''Biochemistry and molecular cell biology of diabetic complications.''; Nature, 2001 PubMed Europe PMC Scholia
  2. Tolan DR; ''Molecular basis of hereditary fructose intolerance: mutations and polymorphisms in the human aldolase B gene.''; Hum Mutat, 1995 PubMed Europe PMC Scholia
  3. Dunlop M; ''Aldose reductase and the role of the polyol pathway in diabetic nephropathy.''; Kidney Int Suppl, 2000 PubMed Europe PMC Scholia


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111177view05:18, 22 July 2020EgonwMade two pathways clickable
106197view12:09, 16 August 2019MaintBotHMDB identifier normalization
102327view09:57, 20 December 2018DeSlRemoved licence number and last modified part.
102326view09:54, 20 December 2018DeSlUpdated arrows to Mim-type conversion
102325view09:53, 20 December 2018DeSlAdded D-sorbitol to isosorbid path
88335view15:56, 1 August 2016FehrhartOntology Term : 'polyol pathway' added !
72132view07:58, 25 October 2013Mkutmonadded datasource to pathway datanode
70029view01:55, 12 July 2013AlexanderPicoFixed pathway xref
70028view01:54, 12 July 2013AlexanderPicoModified title
68946view17:36, 8 July 2013MaintBotUpdated to 2013 gpml schema
67602view11:31, 26 June 2013DdiglesOntology Term : 'glucose utilization pathway' added !
59138view22:38, 21 February 2013MaintBotUpdated Ensembl and UniProt data source
45266view18:46, 7 October 2011KhanspersOntology Term : 'Diabetes' added !
45264view18:46, 7 October 2011KhanspersOntology Term : 'renal disease, renal disorder pathway' added !
45260view18:44, 7 October 2011KhanspersOntology Term : 'glucose oxidation pathway' added !
41098view23:21, 1 March 2011MaintBotRemoved redundant pathway information and comments
38770view23:43, 23 September 2010KhanspersAdded pathway links and changed line types
32727view22:46, 3 September 2009MaintBotModified categories
29659view07:35, 25 May 2009Pieter GiesbertzAdded literature reference
29654view09:43, 24 May 2009Pieter GiesbertzModified description
29592view12:33, 19 May 2009Pieter GiesbertzModified description
29289view08:24, 22 April 2009Pieter GiesbertzAdded literature references
29288view08:09, 22 April 2009Pieter GiesbertzSpecify description
29281view07:39, 22 April 2009Pieter GiesbertzSpecify description
29132view11:33, 6 April 2009Pieter GiesbertzSpecify description
29115view14:54, 3 April 2009Pieter GiesbertzNew pathway

External references


View all...
NameTypeDatabase referenceComment
ALDOBGeneProductENSG00000136872 (Ensembl Human)
ALR2GeneProduct231 (Entrez Gene)
D-FructoseMetaboliteHMDB00660 (HMDB)
D-GlucoseMetaboliteHMDB00122 (HMDB)
D-Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphateMetaboliteHMDB01112 (HMDB)
Dihydroxyacetone phosphateMetaboliteHMDB01473 (HMDB)
FructokinaseGeneProductENSG00000138030 (Ensembl Human)
Fructose 1-phosphateMetaboliteHMDB01076 (HMDB)
GlyceraldehydeMetaboliteHMDB01051 (HMDB)
SORDGeneProductENSG00000140263 (Ensembl Human)
SorbitolMetaboliteHMDB00247 (HMDB)

Annotated Interactions

No annotated interactions

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