Stimulation of muscle protein synthesis by prolonged parenteral infusion of leucine is dependent on amino acid availability in neonatal pigs

J Nutr. 2010 Feb;140(2):264-70. doi: 10.3945/jn.109.113621. Epub 2009 Dec 23.


The postprandial rise in amino acids, particularly leucine, stimulates muscle protein synthesis in neonates. Previously, we showed that a 1-h infusion of leucine increased protein synthesis, but this response was not sustained for 2 h unless the leucine-induced decrease in amino acids was prevented. To determine whether a parenteral leucine infusion can stimulate protein synthesis for a more prolonged, clinically relevant period if baseline amino acid concentrations are maintained, overnight food-deprived neonatal pigs were infused for 24 h with saline, leucine (400 h(-1)), or leucine with replacement amino acids. Amino acid replacement prevented the leucine-induced decrease in amino acids. Muscle protein synthesis was increased by leucine but only when other amino acids were supplied to maintain euaminoacidemia. Leucine did not affect activators of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), i.e. protein kinase B, AMP-activated protein kinase, tuberous sclerosis complex 2, or eukaryotic elongation factor 2. There was no effect of treatment on the association of mTOR with regulatory associated protein of mammalian target of rapamycin (raptor), G-protein beta subunit-like protein, or rictor or the phosphorylation of raptor or proline-rich Akt substrate of 40 kDa. Phosphorylation of mTOR and its downstream targets, eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF) 4E binding protein and ribosomal protein S6 kinase, and the eIF4E . eIF4G association were increased and eIF2alpha phosphorylation was reduced by leucine and was not further altered by correcting for the leucine-induced hypoaminoacidemia. Thus, prolonged parenteral infusion of leucine activates mTOR and its downstream targets in neonatal skeletal muscle, but the stimulation of protein synthesis also is dependent upon amino acid availability.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / blood*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors / metabolism
  • Infusions, Parenteral
  • Insulin / blood
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Leucine / administration & dosage
  • Leucine / blood
  • Leucine / pharmacology*
  • Muscle Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Postprandial Period
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases / metabolism
  • Sus scrofa
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases


  • Amino Acids
  • Blood Glucose
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors
  • Insulin
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Leucine