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Amino Acids. 2015 Jun;47(6):1193-201. doi: 10.1007/s00726-015-1946-9. Epub 2015 Mar 14.

Leucine-enriched essential amino acids attenuate muscle soreness and improve muscle protein synthesis after eccentric contractions in rats.

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  • 1Institute for Innovation, Ajinomoto Co., Inc., Kawasaki, Kanagawa, 210-8681, Japan,


Eccentric exercise results in prolonged muscle weakness and muscle soreness, which are typical symptoms of muscle damage. Recovery from muscle damage is related to mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activity. Leucine-enriched essential amino acids (LEAAs) stimulate muscle protein synthesis via activation of the mTOR pathway. Therefore, we investigated the effect of LEAAs on muscle protein synthesis and muscle soreness after eccentric contractions (EC). Male Sprague-Dawley rats (9-11 weeks old) were administered an LEAA solution (AminoL40; containing 40 % leucine and 60 % other essential amino acids) at 1 g/kg body weight or distilled water (control) 30 min before and 10 min after EC. Tibialis anterior (TA) muscle was exposed to 500 EC by electrical stimulation under anesthesia. The fractional synthesis rate (FSR; %/h) in the TA muscle was measured by incorporating L-[ring-(2)H5] phenylalanine into skeletal muscle protein. Muscle soreness was evaluated by the paw withdrawal threshold using the Randal-Selitto test with some modifications from 1 to 3 days after EC. The FSR in the EC-control group (0.147 ± 0.016 %/h) was significantly lower than in the sedentary group (0.188 ± 0.016 %/h, p < 0.05). AminoL40 administration significantly mitigated the EC-induced impairment of the FSR (0.172 ± 0.018 %/h). EC decreased the paw withdrawal threshold at 1 and 2 days after EC, which indicated that EC induced muscle soreness. Furthermore, AminoL40 administration alleviated the decreased paw withdrawal threshold. These findings suggest that LEAA supplementation improves the rate of muscle protein synthesis and ameliorates muscle soreness after eccentric exercise.

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