Relationship of resting metabolic rate to body composition and protein turnover

Am J Physiol. 1990 Jun;258(6 Pt 1):E990-8. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1990.258.6.E990.


This study examined whether variability among healthy young adults in resting metabolic rate, normalized for the amount of metabolically active tissue (assessed by total body potassium), is related to protein turnover. Resting metabolic rate was measured by indirect calorimetry for 2 h in 26 men and 21 women, 19-33 yr old, with simultaneous estimation of protein turnover during a 4-h infusion of L-[1-13C]leucine. After adjusting metabolic rate for total body potassium, the standard deviation was only 89 kcal/day, or 5.5% of the average value. There was a high correlation between leucine flux (an index of proteolysis) and metabolic rate (r = 0.84) and between the nonoxidized portion of leucine flux (an index of protein synthesis) and metabolic rate (r = 0.83). This relationship was weaker, but still significant, after adjusting leucine metabolism and metabolic rate for total body potassium (r = 0.36 for leucine flux vs. metabolic rate, r = 0.33 for nonoxidized portion of leucine flux vs. metabolic rate, P less than 0.05). The regression analysis suggested that the contribution of protein turnover to resting metabolic rate was approximately 20% in an average subject. Metabolic rate and protein turnover were highest in the subjects with the greatest amount of body fat, even after accounting for differences in whole body potassium. Neither resting metabolic rate nor protein turnover was related to total or free concentrations of thyroxine or triiodothyronine, within the euthyroid range.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Basal Metabolism
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Calorimetry
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leucine / metabolism
  • Male
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Sex Factors


  • Proteins
  • Leucine