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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2017 Sep 1;313(3):F805-F814. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00592.2015. Epub 2017 Jul 12.

Effect of endurance training and branched-chain amino acids on the signaling for muscle protein synthesis in CKD model rats fed a low-protein diet.

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Department of Clinical Nutrition, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Shizuoka, Shizuoka, Japan; and
Department of Clinical Nutrition, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Shizuoka, Shizuoka, Japan; and.
Laboratory of Nutritional Biochemistry, Graduate School of Nutritional and Environmental Sciences, University of Shizuoka, Shizuoka, Japan.


A low-protein diet (LPD) protects against the progression of renal injury in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). However, LPD may accelerate muscle wasting in these patients. Both exercise and branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) are known to increase muscle protein synthesis by activating the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. The aim of this study was to investigate whether endurance exercise and BCAA play a role for increasing muscle protein synthesis in LPD-fed CKD (5/6 nephrectomized) rats. Both CKD and sham rats were pair-fed on LPD or LPD fortified with a BCAA diet (BD), and approximately one-half of the animals in each group was subjected to treadmill exercise (15 m/min, 1 h/day, 5 days/wk). After 7 wk, renal function was measured, and soleus muscles were collected to evaluate muscle protein synthesis. Renal function did not differ between LPD- and BD-fed CKD rats, and the treadmill exercise did not accelerate renal damage in either group. The treadmill exercise slightly increased the phosphorylation of p70s6 kinase, a marker of mTOR activity, in the soleus muscle of LPD-fed CKD rats compared with the sham group. Furthermore, BCAA supplementation of the LPD-fed, exercise-trained CKD rats restored the phosphorylation of p70s6 kinase to the same level observed in the sham group; however, the corresponding induced increase in muscle protein synthesis and muscle mass was marginal. These results indicate that the combination of treadmill exercise and BCAA stimulates cell signaling to promote muscle protein synthesis; however, the implications of this effect for muscle growth remain to be clarified.


branched-chain amino acids; chronic kidney disease; endurance training; low-protein diets

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