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Pediatr Res. 2006 May;59(5):732-5.

Effects of early amino acid administration on leucine and glucose kinetics in premature infants.

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Department of Pediatrics, Erasmus MC-Sophia Children's Hospital, 3000 CB Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


We previously showed that, in prematurely born infants, an anabolic state without metabolic acidosis can be achieved upon intravenous amino acid (AA) administration in the immediate postnatal phase, despite a low energy intake. We hypothesized that the anabolic state resulted from an increased protein synthesis and not a decreased proteolysis. Furthermore, we hypothesized that the energy needed for the higher protein synthesis rate would be derived from an increased glucose oxidation. To test our hypotheses, 32 ventilated premature infants (<1500 g) received intravenously either solely glucose or glucose and 2.4 g AA/kg/d immediately postnatally. On postnatal d 2, each group received primed continuous infusions of either [1-13C]leucine or [U-13C6]glucose. 13CO2 enrichments in expiratory air and plasma [1-13C]alpha-KICA (as an intracellular leucine precursor) and [U-13C6]glucose enrichments were measured by mass spectrometry techniques. The AA administration resulted in an increased incorporation of leucine into body protein and a higher leucine oxidation rate, whereas leucine release from proteolysis was not affected. Glucose oxidation rate did not increase upon AA administration. In conclusion, the anabolic state resulting from AA administration in the immediate postnatal period resulted from increased protein synthesis and not decreased proteolysis. The energy needed for the additional protein synthesis was not derived from an increased glucose oxidation.

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