Differential effects of insulin on peripheral and visceral tissue protein synthesis in neonatal pigs

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2001 May;280(5):E770-9. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.2001.280.5.E770.


We recently demonstrated in neonatal pigs that, with amino acids and glucose maintained at fasting levels, the stimulation of protein synthesis in longissimus dorsi muscle with feeding can be reproduced by a physiological rise in insulin alone. In the current report, we determine whether the response of protein synthesis to insulin in the neonatal pig is 1) present in muscles of different fiber types, 2) proportional in myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic proteins, 3) associated with increased translational efficiency and ribosome number, and 4) present in other peripheral tissues and in viscera. Hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic-amino acid clamps were performed in 7- and 26-day-old pigs infused with 0, 30, 100, or 1,000 ng. kg(-0.66). min(-1) of insulin to reproduce insulin levels present in fasted, fed, refed, and supraphysiological conditions, respectively. Tissue protein synthesis was measured using a flooding dose of L-[4-(3)H]phenylalanine. Insulin increased protein synthesis in gastrocnemius muscle and, to a lesser degree, masseter muscle. The degree of stimulation of protein synthesis by insulin was similar in myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic proteins. Insulin increased translational efficiency but had no effect on ribosome number in muscle. All of these insulin-induced changes in muscle protein synthesis decreased with age. Insulin also stimulated protein synthesis in cardiac muscle and skin but not in liver, intestine, spleen, pancreas, or kidney. The results support the hypothesis that insulin mediates the feeding-induced stimulation of myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic protein synthesis in muscles of different fiber types in the neonate by increasing the efficiency of translation. However, insulin does not appear to be involved in the feeding-induced stimulation of protein synthesis in visceral tissues. Thus different mechanisms regulate the growth of peripheral and visceral tissues in the neonate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / blood
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / metabolism*
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / pharmacology*
  • Muscle Fibers, Fast-Twitch / metabolism
  • Muscle Fibers, Slow-Twitch / metabolism
  • Muscle Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / ultrastructure
  • Myofibrils / metabolism
  • Protein Biosynthesis / physiology
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S / metabolism
  • Swine
  • Viscera / metabolism*


  • Amino Acids
  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Muscle Proteins
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S