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Pediatr Res. 1993 Feb;33(2):106-11.

Effect of intravenous amino acids on protein metabolism of preterm infants during the first three days of life.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242.


Twenty-three preterm infants with respiratory distress syndrome (mean birth weight 1.07 kg, SD 0.24 kg) were randomly assigned to receive glucose alone or glucose with amino acids (1.5 i.v. beginning on the 1st d of life. Blood ammonia and serum urea, CO2 content, sodium, potassium, chloride, and ionized calcium concentrations were normal and did not differ between treatment groups. Nitrogen balance was significantly greater in the group that received amino acids [88 (SD 54) versus -135 (SD 45)]. In 12 infants (seven, glucose-only; five, glucose and amino acids), leucine kinetic studies were also performed on the 3rd d of life. These 12 infants received a 4-h primed constant infusion of L-[1-13C]leucine. Blood and breath were collected and analyzed for [1-13C]ketoisocaproate and 13CO2, respectively. Leucine turnover and oxidation were calculated. Both leucine turnover and oxidation were significantly higher in the group receiving amino acids than in the glucose-only group [241 (SD 38) versus 164 (SD 25) and 71 (SD 22) versus 40 (SD 17), respectively]. In addition, the calculated rate of protein synthesis was higher in the group receiving amino acids [6.9 (SD 1.1) versus 5.0 (SD 1.2)]. These data indicate that the i.v. administration of amino acids (1.5 to ill preterm infants beginning on the 1st d of life improves whole-body protein balance as a result of increased protein synthesis.

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