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J Clin Invest. Oct 1974; 54(4): 974–980.
PMCID: PMC301638

Nitrogen Sparing Induced by a Mixture of Essential Amino Acids Given Chiefly as Their Keto-Analogues during Prolonged Starvation in Obese Subjects

Abstract

11 normal obese subjects were fasted for 33 days. In five, who served as controls, urine urea nitrogen excretion remained constant for 2 wk thereafter. The other six were given seven daily infusions containing 6-8 mmol each of the α-keto-analogues of valine, leucine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, and methionine (as sodium salts) plus 3-4 mmol each of the remaining essential amino acids (lysine, threonine, tryptophan, and histidine). Rapid amination of the infused ketoacids occurred, as indicated by significant increases in plasma concentrations of valine, leucine, isoleucine, alloisoleucine, phenylalanine, and methionine. Glutamine, glycine, serine, glutamate, and taurine fell significantly. Blood glucose, ketone bodies, plasma free fatty acids, and serum immunoreactive insulin concentrations were unaltered. Urine urea nitrogen fell from 1.46 to 0.89 g/day on the last day of infusions; 5 days later it was still lower (0.63 g/day) and in two subjects studied for 9 and 17 days postinfusion it remained below preinfusion control values. Urine ammonia, creatinine, and uric acid were unaltered. Nitrogen balance became less negative during and after infusions. The results indicate that this mixture of essential amino acids and their keto-analogues facilitates nitrogen sparing during prolonged starvation, in part by conversion of the ketoacids to amino acids and in part by altering mechanisms of nitrogen conservation. The latter effect persists after the ketoacids are metabolized.

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Selected References

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