The effect of protein deprivation and starvation on the rate of protein synthesis in tissues of the rat

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1975 Nov 18;414(1):71-84. doi: 10.1016/0005-2787(75)90126-4.


1. The fractional rate of protein synthesis was measured in tissues of rats in vivo by continuous infusion of [14C]tyrosine. In growing animals proteins of liver and kidney were renewed at a rate greater than 50% per day, those in skeletal muscle, brain and heart at a rate between 13 and 23% per day. 2. Protein synthesis was also measured in liver, kidney, heart, brain and skeletal muscle of rats either given a protein-free diet for 21 days or starved for 2 days. During the first 2 days no clear differences between the effects of these two regimes could be detected. 3. Gastrocnemius muscle did not lose tissue protein till after 9 days without protein in the diet. The rate of protein synthesis was halved after 1 day and halved again after 21 days without protein. It was deduced that the rate of protein breakdown in muscle had declined also. 4. In liver the loss of protein was immediate without any apparent change in the fractional rate of protein synthesis. Between 2 and 21 days of dietary protein deprivation the liver lost protein slowly but the fractional rate of protein synthesis was increased. It is proposed that lack of protein in the diet also causes an increase in the rate of liver protein breakdown.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Kinetics
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mathematics
  • Muscles / metabolism
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Organ Size
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Starvation / metabolism*
  • Tyrosine / metabolism


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Tyrosine