Amino acids, especially leucine, potently stimulate protein synthesis and reduce protein breakdown in healthy skeletal muscle and as a result have received considerable attention as potential treatments for muscle wasting. However, the normal anabolic response to amino acids is impaired during muscle-wasting conditions. Although the exact mechanisms of this anabolic resistance are unclear, inflammation and ROS are believed to play a central role. The nonessential amino acid glycine has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and preserves muscle mass in calorie-restricted and tumor-bearing mice. We hypothesized that glycine would restore the normal muscle anabolic response to amino acids under inflammatory conditions. Relative rates of basal and leucine-stimulated protein synthesis were measured using SUnSET methodology 4 h after an injection of 1 mg/kg lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Whereas leucine failed to stimulate muscle protein synthesis in LPS-treated mice pretreated with l-alanine (isonitrogenous control), leucine robustly stimulated protein synthesis (+51%) in mice pretreated with 1 g/kg glycine. The improvement in leucine-stimulated protein synthesis was accompanied by a higher phosphorylation status of mTOR, S6, and 4E-BP1 compared with l-alanine-treated controls. Despite its known anti-inflammatory action in inflammatory cells, glycine did not alter the skeletal muscle inflammatory response to LPS in vivo or in vitro but markedly reduced DHE staining intensity, a marker of oxidative stress, in muscle cross-sections and attenuated LPS-induced wasting in C2C12 myotubes. Our observations in male C57BL/6 mice suggest that glycine may represent a promising nutritional intervention for the attenuation of skeletal muscle wasting.
Keywords: Protein synthesis; atrophy; muscle wasting; sepsis.
Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society.