Amino acid availability and age affect the leucine stimulation of protein synthesis and eIF4F formation in muscle

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Dec;293(6):E1615-21. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00302.2007. Epub 2007 Sep 18.


We have previously shown that a physiological increase in plasma leucine for 60 and 120 min increases translation initiation factor activation in muscle of neonatal pigs. Although muscle protein synthesis is increased by leucine at 60 min, it is not maintained at 120 min, perhaps because of the decrease in plasma amino acids (AA). In the present study, 7- and 26-day-old pigs were fasted overnight and infused with leucine (0 or 400 for 120 min to raise leucine within the postprandial range. The leucine was infused in the presence or absence of a replacement AA mixture (without leucine) to maintain baseline plasma AA levels. AA administration prevented the leucine-induced reduction in plasma AA in both age groups. At 7 days, leucine infusion alone increased eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF) 4E binding protein-1 (4E-BP1) phosphorylation, decreased inactive 4E-BP1.eIF4E complex abundance, and increased active eIF4G.eIF4E complex formation in skeletal muscle; leucine infusion with replacement AA also stimulated these, as well as 70-kDa ribosomal protein S6 kinase, ribosomal protein S6, and eIF4G phosphorylation. At 26 days, leucine infusion alone increased 4E-BP1 phosphorylation and decreased the inactive 4E-BP1.eIF4E complex only; leucine with AA also stimulated these, as well as 70-kDa ribosomal protein S6 kinase and ribosomal protein S6 phosphorylation. Muscle protein synthesis was increased in 7-day-old (+60%) and 26-day-old (+40%) pigs infused with leucine and replacement AA but not with leucine alone. Thus the ability of leucine to stimulate eIF4F formation and protein synthesis in skeletal muscle is dependent on AA availability and age.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism
  • Age Factors
  • Amino Acids / administration & dosage
  • Amino Acids / blood*
  • Amino Acids / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4F / metabolism*
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4G / metabolism
  • Infusions, Parenteral
  • Insulin / blood
  • Leucine / administration & dosage
  • Leucine / blood
  • Leucine / pharmacology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Protein Binding / drug effects
  • Protein Biosynthesis / drug effects*
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 / metabolism
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases, 70-kDa / metabolism
  • Sus scrofa


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Amino Acids
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4F
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4G
  • Insulin
  • Ribosomal Protein S6
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases, 70-kDa
  • Leucine