Hypercortisolemia alters muscle protein anabolism following ingestion of essential amino acids Academic Article uri icon


  • Debilitating injury is accompanied by hypercortisolemia, muscle wasting, and disruption of the normal anabolic response to food. We sought to determine whether acute hypercortisolemia alters muscle protein metabolism following ingestion of a potent anabolic stimulus: essential amino acids (EAA). A 27-h infusion (80 microg. kg(-1). h(-1)) of hydrocortisone sodium succinate mimicked cortisol (C) levels accompanying severe injury (>30 microg/dl), (C + AA; n = 6). The control group (AA) received intravenous saline (n = 6). Femoral arteriovenous blood samples and muscle biopsies were obtained during a primed (2.0 micromol/kg) constant infusion (0.05 micromol. kg(-1). min(-1)) of l-[ring-(2)H(5)]phenylalanine before and after ingestion of 15 g of EAA. Hypercortisolemia [36.5 +/- 2.1 (C + AA) vs. 9.0 +/- 1.0 microg/dl (AA)] increased postabsorptive arterial, venous, and muscle intracellular phenylalanine concentrations. Hypercortisolemia also increased postabsorptive and post-EAA insulin concentrations. Net protein balance was blunted (40% lower) following EAA ingestion but remained positive for a greater period of time (60 vs. 180 min) in the C + AA group. Thus, although differences in protein metabolism were evident, EAA ingestion improved muscle protein anabolism during acute hypercortisolemia and may help minimize muscle loss following debilitating injury.

author list (cited authors)

  • Paddon-Jones, D., Sheffield-Moore, M., Creson, D. L., Sanford, A. P., Wolf, S. E., Wolfe, R. R., & Ferrando, A. A.

citation count

  • 46

publication date

  • May 2003