Exercise is known to improve physical functioning and health status in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Recently, disturbances in protein turnover and amino acid kinetics have been observed after exercise in COPD. The objective was to investigate which dairy protein is able to positively influence the protein metabolic response to exercise in COPD. 8 COPD patients and 8 healthy subjects performed a cycle test on two days while ingesting casein or whey protein. Whole body protein breakdown (WbPB), synthesis (WbPS), splanchnic amino acid extraction (SPE), and NetWbPS (=WbPS-WbPB) were measured using stable isotope methodology during 20 min of exercise (at 50% peak work load of COPD group). The controls performed a second exercise test at the same relative workload. Exercise was followed by 1 h of recovery. In the healthy group, WbPS, SPE, and NetPS were higher during casein than during whey feeding (P<.01). WbPS and NetPS were higher during exercise, independent of exercise intensity (P<.01). NetPS was higher during casein feeding in COPD due to lower WbPB (P<.05). Higher SPE was found during exercise during casein and whey feeding in COPD (P<.05). Lactate levels during exercise were higher in COPD (P<.05) independent of the protein. Post-exercise, lower NetPS values were found independent of protein type in both groups. Casein resulted in more protein anabolism than whey protein which was maintained during and following exercise in COPD. Optimizing protein intake might be of importance for muscle maintenance during daily physical activities in COPD.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01418469.
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