Dietary whey protein hydrolysates increase skeletal muscle glycogen levels via activation of glycogen synthase in mice

J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Nov 14;60(45):11403-8. doi: 10.1021/jf302277a. Epub 2012 Nov 6.


Previously, we have shown that consuming carbohydrate plus whey protein hydrolysates (WPHs) replenished muscle glycogen after exercise more effectively than consuming intact whey protein or branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). The mechanism leading to superior glycogen replenishment after consuming WPH is unclear. In this 5 week intervention, ddY mice were fed experimental diets containing WPH, a mixture of whey amino acids (WAAs), or casein (control). After the intervention, gastrocnemius muscle glycogen levels were significantly higher in the WPH group (4.35 mg/g) than in the WAA (3.15 mg/g) or control (2.51 mg/g) groups. In addition, total glycogen synthase (GS) protein levels were significantly higher in the WPH group (153%) than in the WAA (89.2%) or control groups, and phosphorylated GS levels were significantly decreased in the WPH group (51.4%). These results indicate that dietary WPH may increase the muscle glycogen content through increased GS activity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Glycogen / biosynthesis*
  • Glycogen Synthase / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Milk Proteins / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Protein Hydrolysates / metabolism*
  • Whey Proteins


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Milk Proteins
  • Protein Hydrolysates
  • Whey Proteins
  • Glycogen
  • Glycogen Synthase