Circumventing the Crabtree effect in cell culture: A systematic review

Michèle J.C. de Kok, Alexander F. Schaapherder, Rob C.I. Wüst, Melissa Zuiderwijk, Jaap A. Bakker, Jan H.N. Lindeman, Sylvia E. Le Dévédec*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Metabolic reprogramming and mitochondrial dysfunction are central elements in a broad variety of physiological and pathological processes. While cell culture established itself as a versatile technique for the elaboration of physiology and disease, studying metabolism using standard cell culture protocols is profoundly interfered by the Crabtree effect. This phenomenon refers to the adaptation of cultured cells to a glycolytic phenotype, away from oxidative phosphorylation in glucose-containing medium, and questions the applicability of cell culture in certain fields of research. In this systematic review we aim to provide a comprehensive overview and critical appraisal of strategies reported to circumvent the Crabtree effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-95
Number of pages13
Early online date1 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Dutch Kidney Foundation (Metabolic salvage strategies to improve transplant outcome. Project 17O/11.)

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Cell culture
  • Crabtree effect
  • Glycolysis
  • Metabolism
  • Mitochondria
  • Oxidative phosphorylation


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