Metabolic phenotyping using kinetic measurements in young and older healthy adults.
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BACKGROUND: The aging process is often associated with the presence of sarcopenia. Although changes in the plasma concentration of several amino acids have been observed in older adults, it remains unclear whether these changes are related to disturbances in whole body production and/or interconversions. METHODS: We studied 10 healthy young (~22.7y) and 17 older adults (~64.8y) by administering a mixture of stable amino acid tracers in a pulse and in a primed constant infusion. We calculated whole body production (WBP) and metabolite to metabolite interconversions. In addition, we measured body composition, muscle function, and provided questionnaires to assess daily dietary intake, physical activity, mood (anxiety, depression) and markers of cognitive function. Plasma enrichments and metabolite concentrations were measured by GC- and LC-MS/MS and statistics were performed by student t-test. RESULTS: Older adults had a 11% higher body mass index (p=0.04) and 27% reduced peak leg extension force (p=0.02) than the younger group, but comparable values for muscle mass, mood and cognitive function. Although small differences in several plasma amino acid concentrations were observed, we found older adults had about 40% higher values of WBP for glutamine (22127 vs. 30521mol/kgffm/h, p=0.03) and tau-methylhistidine (0.150.01 vs. 0.210.02mol/kgffm/h, p=0.04), 26% lower WBP value for arginine (594 vs. 444mol/kgffm/h, p=0.02) and a reduction in WBP (50%; 1.230.15 vs. 0.690.06mol/kgffm/h, p=0.001) and concentration (25%; 3.50.3mol/l vs. 2.60.2mol/l, p=0.01) for -Hydroxy -Methylbutyrate. No differences were observed in protein catabolism. Clearance of arginine was decreased (27%, p=0.03) and clearance of glutamine (58%, p=0.01), leucine (67%, p=0.001) and KIC (76%, p=0.004) were increased in older adults. CONCLUSIONS: Specific differences exist between young and older adults in amino acid metabolism.