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Metabolism. 1992 Sep;41(9):1028-34.

Increased protein turnover in obese women.

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Department of Medicine, University of Rochester, NY.


Some previous studies have indicated that rates of proteolysis and protein synthesis are greater in obese than in lean subjects, whereas others have not supported this finding. In the present study, we have measured postabsorptive protein turnover in a large group (n = 24) of obese women to establish more conclusively whether obese women have higher rates of protein turnover than lean women (n = 12), and to determine whether obese subjects with the greatest abdominal fat accumulation or those with the most severe insulin resistance (as determined by oral glucose tolerance testing) have the highest rates of protein turnover. Leucine appearance rate (Ra) was used as an index of whole-body proteolysis, and the fraction of Ra not oxidized was used as an index of whole-body protein synthesis. Leu Ra, oxidation, and incorporation into protein after an overnight fast were approximately 25% greater in obese than in lean women, and were approximately 10% to 15% greater after dividing by lean body mass (LBM) or adjusting for LBM by analysis of covariance. Among obese women, the degree of obesity (over the range of 30% to 47% fat) was not a significant determinant of protein turnover, nor were degree of insulin resistance, visceral fat accumulation (determined by magnetic resonance imaging [MRI]), or subcutaneous abdominal fat accumulation (also determined by MRI). However, the women with the highest rates of protein turnover also had higher waist to hip circumference ratios (WHR). We conclude that even moderate obesity is associated with increased protein turnover, and that this effect is not completely explained by the higher LBM in obese subjects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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