Skip to Content
Medical Term:

tricarboxylic acid cycle


Definition: together with oxidative phosphorylation, the main source of energy in the mammalian body and the end toward which carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism is directed; a series of reactions, beginning and ending with oxaloacetic acid, during the course of which a two-carbon fragment is completely oxidized to carbon dioxide and water with the production of 12 high-energy phosphate bonds. So called because the first four substances involved (citric acid, cis-aconitic acid, isocitric acid, and oxalosuccinic acid) are all tricarboxylic acids; from oxalosuccinate, the others are, in order, a-ketoglutarate, succinate, fumarate, l-malate, and oxaloacetate, which condenses with acetyl-CoA (from fatty acid degradation) to form citrate (citric acid) again.

Synonym(s): citric acid cycle, Krebs cycle

© Copyright 2016 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.