Influence of insulin and substrate concentration on protein synthetic rate in fetal tissues.

J. Horn, M. D. Stern, M. Young, D. E. Noakes

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The influence of fetal plasma substrate and insulin concentrations on the fractional synthesis rate or turnover of the mixed proteins in the organs of fetal lambs was calculated from measurements of the rate of uptake of L-14C lysine by the protein in the steady state in utero. The control values for protein synthesis rate in the fetal organs of Welsh mountain ewes, 130 to 140 days' pregnant, were similar to those previously observed in the fetuses of Border Leicester ewes: the mean turnover rates were 38, 72, 40 and 63 per cent per day for the brain, liver, cardiac muscle and the placenta respectively; that for skeletal muscles was 6.8 per cent per day; the corresponding half lives were 2.15, 1.27, 1.8 and 1.42 days respectively and 11.3 days for skeletal muscle. A fivefold increase in the plasma glucose levels had no influence on protein turnover rate over a six hour period. A fourfold increase in the concentration of some amino acids, following a mixed infusion, decreased turnover rate in brain, heart and liver. The half life was increased by 30 per cent, but a small reduction in half life was observed in skeletal muscle. Insulin caused a fall in intracellular lysine concentration in skeletal muscle and in plasma, which suggests that the hormone can reduce muscle protein catabolism in the fetal lamb in the last trimester of gestation. Enhancement of synthesis rate occurred in the presence of the amino acid infusions only; the half life of the proteins was reduced by a factor of three. Insulin also increased placental protein synthesis rate by 50 per cent but had no influence on the other tissues studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-41
Number of pages7
JournalResearch in Veterinary Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 1983


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