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Effects of acute cold exposure on muscle amino acid and protein in rats.


To test the effects of acute cold on muscle amino acid and protein 1) rats were exposed to 4 degrees C for 24 h, functionally hepatectomized (eviscerated) and accumulation in the blood used to indicate changes in amino acid release from the tissues; 2) other rats were left intact, and urinary excretion of 3-methylhistidine (proportional to muscle protein breakdown) determined during cold exposure. In the eviscerated group, cold enhanced loss of total amino acids from the tissues (as alpha-amino nitrogen), but the loss (213 +/- 14.8% of basal in 2 h) was not due to excess alanine (180 +/- 8.5%). By comparison, in fasted rats total amino acid was 182 +/- 12.3, alanine 309 +/- 17.2%. Also, the cold-induced loss resembled the effects of streptozotocin diabetes and depended on a depression by cold of serum insulin (to 35.7 +/- 2.3 muU/ml). Therefore it was prevented when insulin was restored by infusion (40 mU . 100 g-1 . h-1) or by adrenodemedullation before cold exposure. Epinephrine (10 micrograms/100 g sc) depressed insulin in the latter and permitted amino acid release to recur. In intact rats, 3-methylhistidine excretion was unaffected by cold. The results suggest that although cold fails to stimulate alanine synthesis or protein breakdown, it inhibits insulin release sympathetically, thereby diminishing the amount of amino acid incorporated into muscle protein.

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