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J Physiol. 1996 Aug 1;494 ( Pt 3):899-905.

Mechanisms of activation of muscle branched-chain alpha-keto acid dehydrogenase during exercise in man.

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Department of Human Biology, University of Limburg, Maastricht, The Netherlands. G.vanHall@HB.RuLimburg.NL


1. Exercise leads to activation (dephosphorylation) of the branched-chain alpha-keto acid dehydrogenase (BCKADH). Here we investigate the effect of low pre-exercise muscle glycogen content and of branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) ingestion on the activity of BCKADH at rest and after 90 min of one-leg knee-extensor exercise at 65% maximal one-leg power output in five subjects. 2. Pre-exercise BCAA ingestion (308 mg BCAAs (kg body wt)-1) caused an increased muscle BCAA uptake, a higher intramuscular BCAA concentration and activation of BCKADH both at rest (9 +/- 1 versus 25 +/- 5% for the control and BCAA test, respectively) and after exercise (27 +/- 4 versus 54 +/- 7%). 3. At rest the percentage active BCKADH was not different, 6 +/- 2% versus 5 +/- 1%, in the normal and low glycogen content leg (392 +/- 21 and 147 +/- 34 mumol glycosyl units (g dry muscle)-1, respectively). The post-exercise BCKADH activity was higher in the low (46 +/- 2%) than in the normal glycogen content leg (26 +/- 2%). 4. It is concluded that: (1) the mechanism of activation by BCAA ingestion probably involves an increase of the muscle BCAA concentration; (2) BCKADH activation caused by exercise and BCAA ingestion are additive; (3) low pre-exercise muscle glycogen content augments the exercise-induced BCKADH activation without an increase in muscle BCAA concentration; and (4) the mechanism of BCKADH activation via BCAA ingestion and low muscle glycogen content are different.

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