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J Physiol. 2005 Feb 15;563(Pt 1):203-11. Epub 2004 Dec 20.

Protein synthesis rates in human muscles: neither anatomical location nor fibre-type composition are major determinants.

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  • 1Washington University School of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics & Nutritional Sciences, 660 South Euclid Avenue; Campus Box 8031, St Louis, MO 63110, USA.


In many animals the rate of protein synthesis is higher in slow-twitch, oxidative than fast-twitch, glycolytic muscles. To discover if muscles in the human body also show such differences, we measured [13C]leucine incorporation into proteins of anatomically distinct muscles of markedly different fibre-type composition (vastus lateralis, triceps, soleus) after an overnight fast and during infusion of a mixed amino acid solution (75 mg amino acids kg(-1) h(-1)) in nine healthy, young men. Type-1 fibres contributed 83 +/- 4% (mean +/-s.e.m.) of total fibres in soleus, 59 +/- 3% in vastus lateralis and 22 +/- 2% in triceps. The basal myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic protein fractional synthetic rates (FSR, % h(-1)) were 0.034 +/- 0.001 and 0.064 +/- 0.001 (soleus), 0.031 +/- 0.001 and 0.060 +/- 0.001 (vastus), and 0.027 +/- 0.001 and 0.055 +/- 0.001 (triceps). During amino acid infusion, myofibrillar protein FSR increased to 3-fold, and sarcoplasmic to 2-fold basal values (P < 0.001). The differences between muscles, although significant statistically (triceps versus soleus and vastus lateralis, P < 0.05), were within approximately 15%, biologically probably insignificant. The rates of collagen synthesis were not affected by amino acid infusion and varied by < 5% between muscles and experimental conditions.

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