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J Clin Invest. 1969 Dec;48(12):2273-82.

Amino acid balance across tissues of the forearm in postabsorptive man. Effects of insulin at two dose levels.


Amino acid balance across skeletal muscle and across subcutaneous adipose tissue plus skin of the forearm has been quantified in postabsorptive man before and after insulin infusion into the brachial artery. Skeletal muscle released significant amounts of alpha amino nitrogen after an overnight fast. Most individual amino acids were released. Alanine output was by far the greatest. The pattern of release probably reflects both the composition of muscle protein undergoing degradation and de novo synthesis of alanine by transamination. A significant correlation was observed between the extent of release of each amino acid and its ambient arterial concentration. Elevation of forearm insulin in eight subjects from postabsorptive (12 muU/ml) to high physiologic levels (157 muU/ml) in addition to stimulating muscle glucose uptake blocked muscle alpha amino nitrogen release by 74%. Consistent declines in output were seen for leucine, isoleucine, tyrosine, phenylalanine, threonine, glycine, and alpha-aminobutyric acid. Alanine output was insignificantly affected. Doubling forearm insulin levels (from 10 to 20 muU/ml) in eight subjects increased muscle glucose uptake in three and blocked alpha amino nitrogen output in two although both effects were seen concurrently in only one subject. Changes in net amino acid balance after insulin could be accounted for by increased transport of amino acids into muscle cells or retardation of their exit. It is likely that ambient arterial amino acid concentrations are established and maintained primarily by the extent of muscle amino acid release. The individual amino acids whose outputs from forearm muscle decline after forearm insulinization correspond well with those whose levels fall systematically after systemic insulinization. This suggests that declines in amino acid levels after systemic insulinization are due to inhibition of muscle release. Doubling basal insulin approaches the threshold both for blockade of muscle amino acid output and stimulation of glucose uptake, effects which appear to occur independently.

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