Amino acids suppress proteolysis independent of insulin throughout the neonatal period

Brenda B. Poindexter, Cheryl A. Karn, Julie A. Ahlrichs, Junying Wang, Catherine A. Leitch, Edward A. Liechty, Scott C. Denne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations


To determine how increased amino acid availability alters rates of whole body proteolysis and the irreversible catabolism of the essential amino acids leucine and phenylalanine throughout the neonatal period, leucine and phenylalanine kinetics were measured under basal conditions and in response to intravenous amino acids in two separate groups of healthy, full-term newborns (at 3 days and 3 wk of age). The endogenous rates of appearance of leucine and phenylalanine (reflecting proteolysis) were suppressed equally in both groups and in a dose-dependent fashion (by ~10% with 1.2 g·kg- 1·day-1 and by ~20% with 2.4 g·kg-1·day-1) in response to intravenous amino acid delivery. Insulin concentrations remained unchanged from basal values during amino acid administration. The irreversible catabolism of leucine and phenylalanine increased in a stepwise fashion in response to intravenous amino acids; again, no differences were observed between the two groups. This study clearly demonstrates that the capacity to acutely increase rates of leucine oxidation and phenylalanine hydroxylation is fully present early in the neonatal period in normal newborns. Furthermore, these data suggest that amino acid availability is a primary regulator of proteolysis in normal newborns throughout the neonatal period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E592-E599
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number4 35-4
StatePublished - Apr 1997


  • human newborns
  • leucine
  • phenylalanine
  • protein turnover
  • stable isotope tracers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)

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