Regulation of leucine catabolism by metabolic fuels in mammary epithelial cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • Lactation is associated with elevated catabolism of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) in mammary glands to produce glutamate, glutamine, alanine, aspartate, and asparagine. This study determined effects of metabolic fuels on the catabolism of leucine (a representative BCAA) in bovine mammary epithelial cells. Cells were incubated at 37 C for 2 h in Krebs buffer containing 0.5 mM L-leucine and either L-[1-(14)C]leucine or L-[U-(14)C]leucine. The medium also contained 0-5 mM D-glucose, 0-2 mM L-glutamine, 0-4 mM DL--hydroxybutyrate, or 0-2 mM oleic acid. Rates of leucine decarboxylation were 60 % lower, but rates of -ketoisocaproate production were 34 % higher, in the presence of 2 mM glucose than in its absence. All variables of leucine catabolism did not differ between 2 and 5 mM glucose or between 0 and 4 mM DL--hydroxybutyrate. Compared with 0-0.25 mM glutamine, 0.5 and 2 mM L-glutamine reduced leucine transport, transamination, and decarboxylation. In contrast, increasing the concentration of oleic acid from 0 to 2 mM dose-dependently stimulated leucine transamination, decarboxylation, and oxidation of carbons 2-6. Oleic acid also enhanced the abundance of cytosolic BCAA transaminase, while reducing the phosphorylated level (inactive state) of the E1 subunit of the mitochondrial branched-chain -ketoacid dehydrogenase complex. Thus, hypoglycemia or ketosis in early lactation does not likely affect BCAA metabolism in mammary epithelial cells. Increasing circulating levels of BCAA and oleic acid may have great potential to increase the syntheses of glutamate, glutamine, aspartate, alanine, and asparagine by lactating mammary glands, thereby leading to enhanced production of milk for suckling neonates.

published proceedings

  • Amino Acids

author list (cited authors)

  • Lei, J., Feng, D., Zhang, Y., Dahanayaka, S., Li, X., Yao, K., ... Wu, G.

citation count

  • 35

complete list of authors

  • Lei, Jian||Feng, Dingyuan||Zhang, Yongliang||Dahanayaka, Sudath||Li, Xilong||Yao, Kang||Wang, Junjun||Wu, Zhenlong||Dai, Zhaolai||Wu, Guoyao

publication date

  • November 2012