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Exercise-induced activation of the branched-chain 2-oxo acid dehydrogenase in human muscle.

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Department of Medicine, University of Liverpool, UK.


The present study was conducted to investigate the metabolic regulation of the oxidation of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) by exercise in human skeletal muscle. Five trained male volunteers were exercised on a cycle ergometer at 70% +/- 10% (mean +/- SD) of their maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max). Percutaneous quadriceps muscle biopsies were obtained under local anaesthesia at rest and after 30 and 120 min of exercise. In the muscle samples the active and total amount of the branched-chain 2-oxo acid dehydrogenase complex (BC-complex), the regulatory enzyme in the oxidative pathway of the BCAA, were measured. Glycogen content and activity of mitochondrial marker enzymes were also measured. Blood samples were obtained every 20 min for the measurement of metabolites. Heart rate and rated perceived exertion on the Borg scale were recorded every 10 min. At rest 4.0% +/- 2.5% of the BC complex was active, after 30 min of exercise 9.9% +/- 9.0% and after 120 min 17.5% +/- 8.5% (mean +/- SD). Exercise did not change the total activity. The largest activation was seen in two of the subjects who developed higher blood lactates early on during exercise and decreased their muscle glycogen more (indications of anaerobic metabolism). These data demonstrate that in trained individuals significant increases in the activity of the BC-complex occur only after prolonged intense exercise. In spite of the 4-fold activation, the data support the classical view that amino acids and protein do not contribute substantially as an energy source during exercise, since VO2 increased more than 20-fold.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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