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Am J Physiol. 1988 Oct;255(4 Pt 1):E548-58.

Insulin responsiveness of protein metabolism in vivo following bedrest in humans.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston.


To test the influence of bedrest on insulin regulation of leucine metabolism, six normal young men were subjected to a five-step hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp before and after 7 days of strict bedrest. A primed-constant infusion of [1-13C]leucine at 0.12 +/- 0.02 was used. Before bedrest, the basal rate of appearance (Ra) of intracellular leucine and leucine oxidation were 2.79 +/- 0.17 and 0.613 +/- 0.070, respectively. Insulin caused a dose-dependent reduction of the intracellular leucine Ra and leucine oxidation to a minimum of 1.64 +/- 0.08 and 0.322 +/- 0.039, respectively, in nonbedrested subjects (P less than 0.001). Insulin also caused a dose-dependent reduction of plasma leucine concentration from 95 +/- 4 to 38 +/- 2 mumol/l (P less than 0.001). After bedrest, subjects exhibited decreased glucose tolerance and increased endogenous insulin secretion, but basal and insulin-suppressed intracellular leucine Ra and leucine oxidation rates were not different from control. Magnetic resonance imaging of the back and lower extremities revealed a 1-4% decrease in muscle volume and a 2-5% increase in fat volume secondary to bedrest. Bedrest also resulted in a negative nitrogen balance as compared with the control period, with an average cumulative loss of 6.3 g of nitrogen after 6 days. Urinary 3-methyl-L-histidine excretion was unchanged by bed rest. Thus because negative nitrogen balance and skeletal muscle atrophy occurred in six rested subjects in the absence of changes in the two indices of protein breakdown used in this study (3-methyl-L-histidine release and leucine release), it seems likely that muscle protein synthesis was inhibited.

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