Leucine or carbohydrate supplementation reduces AMPK and eEF2 phosphorylation and extends postprandial muscle protein synthesis in rats

Gabriel J. Wilson, Donald K. Layman, Christopher J. Moulton, Layne E. Norton, Tracy G. Anthony, Christopher G. Proud, S. Indu Rupassara, Peter J. Garlick

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56 Citations (Scopus)


Muscle protein synthesis (MPS) increases after consumption of a protein-containing meal but returns to baseline values within 3 h despite continued elevations of plasma amino acids and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTORC1) signaling. This study evaluated the potential for supplemental leucine (Leu), carbohydrates (CHO), or both to prolong elevated MPS after a meal. Male Sprague-Dawley rats (~270 g) trained to consume three meals daily were food deprived for 12 h, and then blood and gastrocnemius muscle were collected 0, 90, or 180 min after a standard 4-g test meal (20% whey protein). At 135 min postmeal, rats were orally administered 2.63 g of CHO, 270 mg of Leu, both, or water (sham control). Following test meal consumption, MPS peaked at 90 min and then returned to basal (time 0) rates at 180 min, although ribosomal protein S6 kinase and eIF4E-binding protein- 1 phosphorylation remained elevated. In contrast, rats administered Leu and/or CHO supplements at 135 min postmeal maintained peak MPS through 180 min. MPS was inversely associated with the phosphorylation states of translation elongation factor 2, the "cellular energy sensor" adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase-α(AMPKα) and its substrate acetyl-CoA carboxylase, and increases in the ratio of AMP/ATP. We conclude that the incongruity between MPS and mTORC1 at 180 min reflects a block in translation elongation due to reduced cellular energy. Administering Leu or CHO supplements ~2 h after a meal maintains cellular energy status and extends the postprandial duration of MPS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1236-E1242
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Dec 2011


  • Adenosine 5′-monophosphate-activated protein kinase
  • Branched-chain amino acids
  • Eukaryotic elongation factor 2
  • Mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1
  • Translation elongation
  • Translation initiation
  • Whey protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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