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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2000 Jul;32(7):1244-9.

Human erythrocyte and plasma amino acid concentrations during exercise.

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  • 1Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom.



This investigation examined the effects of exercise and maltodextrin (Md) or placebo (Pl) ingestion on plasma and erythrocyte concentrations of amino acids.


The erythrocyte and plasma concentrations of 17 amino acids, as well as plasma glucose and insulin, were analyzed in eight healthy trained male subjects before, during, and 25 min after 90-min cycle ergometer exercise at 65% peak oxygen uptake. The two treatments involved ingestion of orange-flavored water (Pl) or orange-flavored 10% maltodextrin solution (Md).


Two-way ANOVA revealed 1) that plasma concentrations of alanine and tyrosine changed significantly during the treatments, 2) that the plasma concentrations were significantly different between treatments for glycine and threonine, 3) that all erythrocyte concentrations increased significantly throughout the treatments except for arginine and tyrosine, and 4) that there were no significant differences in erythrocyte concentrations between the treatments. Three-way ANOVA highlighted the significant differences in the time responses between plasma and erythrocyte concentrations; the changes in erythrocyte levels from rest being significantly different from plasma for all amino acids except aspartic acid, glycine, and ornithine. Plasma glucose concentrations became elevated and remained above rest values in Md but fell below rest values in Pl: the differences in concentration between treatments were significant. Correspondingly, plasma insulin was significantly higher in Md during exercise.


These results highlight that far from being slow in the uptake of amino acids, the erythrocyte in fact sequesters amino acids at an appreciable rate during exercise without a corresponding elevation in the plasma amino acids. For a greater understanding of amino acid changes during exercise, the analysis of both plasma and erythrocytes is recommended.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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