Protein synthesis rates of muscle, tendon, ligament, cartilage, and bone tissue in vivo in humans, 2019

Topics: Nutrition, tissue protein synthesis rate, amino acid content in tissues

Authors: Joey S J Smeets, Astrid M H Horstman, Georges F Vles, Pieter J Emans, Joy P B Goessens, Annemie P Gijsen, Janneau M X van Kranenburg, Luc J C van Loon


Skeletal muscle plasticity is reflected by a dynamic balance between protein synthesis and breakdown, with basal muscle tissue protein synthesis rates ranging between 0.02 and 0.09%/h. Though it is evident that other musculoskeletal tissues should also express some level of plasticity, data on protein synthesis rates of most of these tissues in vivo in humans is limited. Six otherwise healthy patients (62±3 y), scheduled to undergo unilateral total knee arthroplasty, were subjected to primed continuous intravenous infusions with L-[ring-13C6]-Phenylalanine throughout the surgical procedure. Tissue samples obtained during surgery included muscle, tendon, cruciate ligaments, cartilage, bone, menisci, fat, and synovium. Tissue-specific fractional protein synthesis rates (%/h) were assessed by measuring the incorporation of L-[ring-13C6]-Phenylalanine in tissue protein and were compared with muscle tissue protein synthesis rates using a paired t test. Tendon, bone, cartilage, Hoffa’s fat pad, anterior and posterior cruciate ligament, and menisci tissue protein synthesis rates averaged 0.06±0.01, 0.03±0.01, 0.04±0.01, 0.11±0.03, 0.07±0.02, 0.04±0.01, and 0.04±0.01%/h, respectively, and did not significantly differ from skeletal muscle protein synthesis rates (0.04±0.01%/h; P>0.05). Synovium derived protein (0.13±0.03%/h) and intercondylar notch bone tissue protein synthesis rates (0.03±0.01%/h) were respectively higher and lower compared to skeletal muscle protein synthesis rates (P

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