Effects of infused amino acids on glucose production and utilization in healthy human subjects

Am J Physiol. 1992 Jun;262(6 Pt 1):E826-33. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1992.262.6.E826.


Amino acids have been reported to increase endogenous glucose production in normal human subjects during hyperinsulinemia: however, controversy exists as to whether insulin-mediated glucose disposal is inhibited under these conditions. The effect of an amino acid infusion on glucose oxidation rate has so far not been determined. Substrate oxidation rates, endogenous glucose production, and [13C]glucose synthesis from [13C]bicarbonate were measured in six normal human subjects during sequential infusions of exogenous glucose and exogenous glucose with (n = 5) or without (n = 5) exogenous amino acids. Amino acids increased endogenous glucose production by 84% and [13C]glucose synthesis by 235%. Glucose oxidation estimated from indirect calorimetry decreased slightly after amino acids, but glucose oxidation estimated from [13C]glucose-13CO2 data was increased by 14%. It is concluded that gluconeogenesis is the major pathway of amino acid degradation. During amino acid administration, indirect calorimetry underestimates the true rate of glucose oxidation, whereas glucose oxidation calculated from the 13C enrichment of expired CO2 during [U-13C]glucose infusion does not. A slight stimulation of glucose oxidation during amino acid infusion, concomitant with an increased plasma insulin concentration, indicates that amino acids do not inhibit glucose oxidation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amino Acids / administration & dosage
  • Amino Acids / pharmacology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Deuterium
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Female
  • Gluconeogenesis
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Insulin / blood
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Reference Values
  • Time Factors


  • Amino Acids
  • Blood Glucose
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Insulin
  • Deuterium
  • Glucose