Maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) patients display significant nutritional abnormalities. Insulin is an anabolic hormone with direct effects on skeletal muscle (SM). We examined the anabolic actions of insulin, whole-body (WB), and SM protein turnover in 33 MHD patients and 17 participants without kidney disease using hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic-euaminoacidemic (dual) clamp. Gluteal muscle biopsies were obtained before and after the dual clamp. At baseline, WB protein synthesis and breakdown rates were similar in MHD patients. During dual clamp, controls had a higher increase in WB protein synthesis and a higher suppression of WB protein breakdown compared with MHD patients, resulting in statistically significantly more positive WB protein net balance [2.02 (interquartile range [IQR]: 1.79 and 2.36) vs. 1.68 (IQR: 1.46 and 1.91) mg·kg fat-free mass-1·min-1 for controls vs. for MHD patients, respectively, P < 0.001]. At baseline, SM protein synthesis and breakdown rates were higher in MHD patients versus controls, but SM net protein balance was similar between groups. During dual clamp, SM protein synthesis increased statistically significantly more in controls compared with MHD patients ( P = 0.03), whereas SM protein breakdown decreased comparably between groups. SM net protein balance was statistically significantly more positive in controls compared with MHD patients [67.3 (IQR: 46.4 and 97.1) vs. 15.4 (IQR: -83.7 and 64.7) μg·100 ml-1·min-1 for controls and MHD patients, respectively, P = 0.03]. Human SM biopsy showed a positive correlation between glucose and leucine disposal rates, phosphorylated AKT to AKT ratio, and muscle mitochondrial markers in controls but not in MHD patients. Diminished response to anabolic actions of insulin in the stimulated setting could lead to muscle wasting in MHD patients.
Keywords: hemodialysis; metabolism; muscle; nutrition.