Protein turnover in skeletal muscle of suckling rats

Am J Physiol. 1989 Nov;257(5 Pt 2):R1141-6. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.1989.257.5.R1141.


To determine the normal changes in protein turnover of skeletal muscle in vivo during the suckling period of rats, protein synthesis was measured in soleus, plantaris, anterior tibialis, and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles of 1- to 28-day-old rats using a flooding dose of L-[4-3H]phenylalanine. Protein mass of hind-limb muscles increased nearly 100-fold, and RNA increased approximately 20-fold between 1 and 28 days of age. The total amount of protein synthesized per day increased 34-fold. Fractional protein synthesis rates (Ks) decreased two- to threefold between 1 and 28 days postpartum as a result of a decrease in protein synthetic capacity (RNA/protein). Protein synthetic efficiency (total protein synthesized/RNA) increased during this period. Ks were similar among the four muscles at 1-10 days. At 16 days, Ks increased in soleus and plantaris as a result of increases in protein synthetic efficiency; Ks did not increase in anterior tibialis and EDL. These data suggest that, during the suckling period, protein synthetic capacity in skeletal muscles of rats declines, while protein synthetic efficiency increases. The increase in translational efficiency occurred earlier in weight-bearing muscles (soleus, plantaris) than in non-weight-bearing muscles (anterior tibialis and EDL) and was associated with the appearance of mobility.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Animals, Suckling / metabolism*
  • Hindlimb
  • Muscle Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Muscles / metabolism*
  • RNA / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains


  • Muscle Proteins
  • RNA