Oral N-carbamylglutamate supplementation increases protein synthesis in skeletal muscle of piglets. Academic Article uri icon


  • This study investigated the potential mechanisms by which oral supplementation of N-carbamylglutamate (NCG), an analogue of endogenous N-acetylglutamate (an activator of arginine synthesis) increases growth rate in sow-reared piglets. Two piglets of equal body weight (BW) and of the same gender from each lactating sow were allotted to receive oral administration of 0 (control) or 50 mg of NCG/kg BW every 12 h for 7 d. Piglets (n=32; BW=3 kg) were studied in the food-deprived or fed state following the 7 d of treatment. Overnight food-deprived piglets were given NCG or water (control) at time 0 and 60 min. Piglets studied in the fed state were gavage-fed sow's milk with their respective NCG treatment at 0 and 60 min. At 60 min, the piglets were administered a flooding dose of [3H]phenylalanine and killed at 90 min to measure tissue protein synthesis. Piglets treated with NCG gained 28% more weight than control pigs (P<0.001) over the 7-d period. Fed pigs had greater rates of protein synthesis in longissimus dorsi and gastrocnemius muscles and duodenum compared with food-deprived pigs (P<0.001). Absolute protein synthesis rates in longissimus dorsi (P=0.050) and gastrocnemius (P=0.068) muscles were 30 and 21% greater, respectively, in NCG-treated compared with control pigs. Piglets supplemented with NCG also had greater plasma concentrations of arginine and somatotropin than control pigs (P<0.001). The results suggest that oral NCG supplementation increases plasma arginine and somatotropin levels, leading to an increase in growth rate and muscle protein synthesis in nursing piglets.

author list (cited authors)

  • Frank, J. W., Escobar, J., Nguyen, H. V., Jobgen, S. C., Jobgen, W. S., Davis, T. A., & Wu, G.

citation count

  • 90

publication date

  • February 2007

published in