Roles of insulin and amino acids in the regulation of protein synthesis in the neonate

J Nutr. 1998 Feb;128(2 Suppl):347S-350S. doi: 10.1093/jn/128.2.347S.


Neonates deposit protein at a very high rate and efficiently utilize dietary amino acids for protein deposition. This high efficiency is associated with an elevated stimulation of tissue protein synthesis by feeding. Our recent studies have focused on identification of the factors that mediate this response in the neonate. A positive curvilinear relationship between skeletal muscle protein synthesis and plasma insulin concentration was identified in fasted and fed suckling pigs; the relationship changes with development. To test the specific effects of insulin on protein metabolism in the neonate, a procedure to clamp amino acids, under hyperinsulinemic conditions, was developed. By using this technique, we showed that insulin-stimulated whole-body amino acid disposal is elevated in the neonate, and this response may account for the efficient use of dietary amino acids for protein accretion. More recent studies suggest that the enhanced stimulation of skeletal muscle protein synthesis by feeding in the neonate is primarily insulin mediated; however, the stimulation of liver protein synthesis by feeding seems to be largely a function of amino acid concentration.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / metabolism*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Swine


  • Amino Acids
  • Insulin
  • Proteins