Alanine and glutamine synthesis and release from skeletal muscle. I. Glycolysis and amino acid release

J Biol Chem. 1976 Feb 10;251(3):826-35.


The synthesis and release of alanine and glutamine were investigated with an intact rat epitrochlaris muscle preparation. This preparation will maintain on incubation for up to 6 hours, tissue levels of phosphocreatine, ATP, ADP, lactate, and pyruvate closely approximating those values observed in gastrocnemius muscles freeze-clamped in vivo. The epitrochlaris preparation releases amino acids in the same relative proportions and amounts as a perfused rat hindquarter preparation and human skeletal muscle. Since amino acids were released during incubation without observable changes in tissue amino acids levels, rates of alanine and glutamine release closely approximate net amino acid synthesis. Large increases in either glucose uptake or glycolysis in muscle were not accompanied by changes in either alanine or glutamine synthesis. Insulin increased muscle glucose uptake 4-fold, but was without effect on alanine and glutamine release. Inhibition of glycolysis by iodacetate did not decrease the rate of alanine synthesis. The rates of alanine and glutamine synthesis and release from muscle decreased significantly during prolonged incubation despite a constant rate of glucose uptake and pyruvate production. Alanine synthesis and release were decreased by aminooxyacetic acid, an inhibitor of alanine aminotransferase. This inhibition was accompanied by a compensatory increase in the release of other amino acids, such as aspartate, an amino acid which was not otherwise released in appreciable quantities by muscle. The release of alanine, pyruvate, glutamate, and glutamine were observed to be interrelated events, reflecting a probable near-equilibrium state of alanine aminotransferase in skeletal muscle. It is concluded that glucose metabolism and amino acid release are functionally independent processes in skeletal muscle. Alanine release reflects the de novo synthesis of the amino acid and does not arise from the selective proteolysis of an alanine-rich storage protein. It appears that the rate of alanine and glutamine synthesis in skeletal muscle is dependent upon the transformation and metabolism of amino acid precursors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenine Nucleotides / metabolism
  • Alanine / metabolism*
  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Aspartic Acid / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glutamates / metabolism
  • Glutamine / metabolism*
  • Glycolysis* / drug effects
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Iodoacetates / pharmacology
  • Kinetics
  • Lactates / metabolism
  • Male
  • Methylphenazonium Methosulfate / pharmacology
  • Muscles / drug effects
  • Muscles / metabolism*
  • Phosphocreatine / metabolism
  • Pyruvates / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Tetramethylphenylenediamine / pharmacology


  • Adenine Nucleotides
  • Amino Acids
  • Glutamates
  • Insulin
  • Iodoacetates
  • Lactates
  • Pyruvates
  • Phosphocreatine
  • Glutamine
  • Methylphenazonium Methosulfate
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Glucose
  • Alanine
  • Tetramethylphenylenediamine