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The influence of rumen volatile fatty acids on protein metabolism in growing lambs

Abdul-Razzaq, HA
Bickerstaffe, R
Journal Article
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The effect of acetic or propionic acid rumen fermentation patterns on whole-body protein turnover, tissue protein synthetic rates and body composition was investigated in growing lambs. Protein turnover was assessed using a continuous intravenous infusion of [2, 3-3H]tyrosine and tissue protein fractional synthetic rates (FSR) from the specific activities of plasma free, intracellular free and tissue bound tyrosine. Only the FSR of muscle tissue approached significance. The high FSR in the propionic group was attributed to the high plasma insulin concentration. Values for whole-body protein synthesis, corrected for tyrosine oxidation, were similar to those obtained by summating protein synthesis in individual tissues, confirming that tyrosine oxidation should be measured accurately if reliable whole-body protein synthesis values are required. Tyrosine oxidation and flux were high in the acetic acid group, suggesting that amino acids are used for gluconeogenesis. The high protein turnover rate probably ensures an adequate supply of gluconeogenic amino acids and that the penalty of mobilizing body proteins for gluconeogenic amino acids is minimal. In the propionic acid group, high plasma glucose and insulin concentrations were associated with a low protein turnover rate, high ratio of deposited: synthesized protein and a high body fat content. It is concluded that changing the proportion of ruminal volatile fatty acids influences protein turnover, protein synthesis and the efficiency of protein retention. Such factors probably contribute, indirectly, to the observed differences in body composition. © 1989, The Nutrition Society. All rights reserved.
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 1989
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