Free amino acids in plasma and skeletal muscle of patients with liver cirrhosis

Hepatology. Sep-Oct 1988;8(5):1034-9. doi: 10.1002/hep.1840080509.

Abstract

Free amino acids were measured under postabsorptive conditions in plasma and intracellular water of skeletal muscle obtained by needle biopsy in nine healthy controls and 14 subjects suffering from clinically stable liver cirrhosis. The aromatic amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine in cirrhotics were elevated to the same extent in plasma and in muscle water. Branched-chain amino acids were uniformly reduced in plasma, but in muscle water only valine was significantly lower (222 +/- 92 mumoles per kg intracellular water vs. 368 +/- 82, p less than 0.001), while isoleucine (142 +/- 63 vs. 103 +/- 30), leucine (223 +/- 88 vs. 226 +/- 36) and branched-chain amino acids as a whole (589 +/- 186 vs. 681 +/- 88) were normal or elevated with an increased muscle:plasma ratio (3.12 +/- 2.03 vs. 1.41 +/- 0.37, p less than 0.05 for isoleucine; 3.00 +/- 1.28 vs. 1.85 +/- 0.27, p less than 0.025 for leucine; 2.24 +/- 0.64 vs. 1.69 +/- 0.13, p less than 0.05 for total branched-chain amino acids. Our data show that, in cirrhosis, plasma concentrations of branched-chain amino acids do not reflect their levels in muscle cellular water; only the intracellular pool of valine is severely depleted. This suggests that higher amounts of valine supplementation may be useful in nutritional treatment of liver cirrhosis. The elevated muscle:plasma gradients for branched-chain amino acids may result from abnormalities in their transport through muscle-plasma membrane.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amino Acids / analysis
  • Amino Acids / metabolism*
  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain / analysis
  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain / metabolism
  • Autoanalysis
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / metabolism*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Alcoholic / metabolism
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Alcoholic / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / analysis
  • Muscles / metabolism*
  • Muscles / pathology
  • Nutrition Disorders / metabolism
  • Nutrition Disorders / pathology

Substances

  • Amino Acids
  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain