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J Nutr. 1978 May;108(5):759-65.

The effects of starvation and refeeding on muscle protein synthesis and catabolism in the young rat.


We studied the effects of acute starvation and refeeding on muscle protein synthesis and degradation in young rats. As measures of synthesis, we determined muscle RNA concentration and the rate of incorporation of [14C]leucine into skeletal muscle protein (Sm). As an estimate of nitrogen retention we measured urea production (UrP). Starvation reduced these variables significantly. One refeeding period returned Sm to control values, only partially restored RNA concentration, and increased UrP. We determined the urinary excretion rate of 3-methylhistidine (3-MH) as a measure of the rate of myofibrillar protein degradation. Excretion of 3-MH was lowest in control and highest in starved rats. Refeeding decreased 3-MH excretion to a level midway between control and starved animals. Growth was attended by high rates of synthesis and low rates of degradation. Starvation depressed synthesis and increased degradation. With refeeding, synthesis increased and degradation decreased, compared with the starved state.

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