An exploration of the methods to determine the protein-specific synthesis and breakdown rates in vivo in humans

Lars Holm, Kasper Dideriksen, Rie H. Nielsen, Simon Doessing, Rasmus L. Bechshoeft, Grith Højfeldt, Marcus Moberg, Eva Blomstrand, Søren Reitelseder, Gerrit van Hall

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5 Citations (Scopus)
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The present study explores the methods to determine human in vivo protein-specific myofibrillar and collagenous connective tissue protein fractional synthesis and breakdown rates. We found that in human myofibrillar proteins, the protein-bound tracer disappearance method to determine the protein fractional breakdown rate (FBR) (via 2 H2 O ingestion, endogenous labeling of 2 H-alanine that is incorporated into proteins, and FBR quantified by its disappearance from these proteins) has a comparable intrasubject reproducibility (range: 0.09-53.5%) as the established direct-essential amino acid, here L-ring-13 C6 -phenylalanine, incorporation method to determine the muscle protein fractional synthesis rate (FSR) (range: 2.8-56.2%). Further, the determination of the protein breakdown in a protein structure with complex post-translational processing and maturation, exemplified by human tendon tissue, was not achieved in this experimentation, but more investigation is encouraged to reveal the possibility. Finally, we found that muscle protein FBR measured with an essential amino acid tracer prelabeling is inappropriate presumably because of significant and prolonged intracellular recycling, which also may become a significant limitation for determination of the myofibrillar FSR when repeated infusion trials are completed in the same participants.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14143
Pages (from-to)e14143
JournalPhysiological reports
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019 The Authors. Physiological Reports published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of The Physiological Society and the American Physiological Society.


  • amino acid recycling
  • deuterated alanine
  • deuterated water
  • fractional breakdown rate
  • fractional synthesis rate
  • protein turnover
  • stable isotope


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