1. The oxidation of the three branched-chain amino acids was regulated in parallel fashion in rat tissues studied in vitro. 2. With 0.1 mM-[1-14C]isoleucine as substrate in the presence of 5.5 mM-glucose, 14CO2 production was 0.6 mumol/2 h per g in the aorta, 0.3 in peripheral nerve, 0.2 in muscle and 0.13 in spinal cord. 3. The ratio 14C oxidized/14C incorporated into proteins with 0.1 mM-[1-14C]leucine was 1.3 in hemidiaphragms, 3.3 in sciatic nerve and 1.0 in nerves undergoing Wallerian degeneration. Leucine oxidation decreased only slightly during degeneration, but protein synthesis doubled. 4. Hemidiaphragms incubated with [1-14C]leucine or 4-methyl-2-oxo[1-14C]pentanoate increased 14CO2 production 7-9-fold as substrate concentration was increased from 0.1 to 0.5 mM; under the same conditions 14CO2 production by nerves increased only 2-3-fold. 5. 2-Oxoglutarate stimulated the oxidation of the branched-chain amino acids by muscles and peripheral nerves and the oxidation of 4-methyl-2-oxopentanoate by hemidiaphragms but not by nerves. 6. Octanoate (0.1-1.0 mM) markedly stimulated the oxidation of branched-chain amino acids and of 4-methyl-2-oxopentanoate in hemidiaphragms, but inhibited oxidation of both by peripheral nerves and spinal cord. In aortas, oxidation of isoleucine (the only substance tested) was inhibited by octanoate. 7. The effects of octanoate and 2-oxoglutarate on leucine oxidation by hemidiaphragms were additive at low concentrations. When maximally stimulating concentrations of either agent were used, addition of the other was ineffective. 8. Pyruvate inhibited the oxidation of branched-chain amino acids and 4-methyl-2-oxopentanoate in all tissues tested. 9. Insulin did not affect the oxidation of 4-methyl-2-oxopentanoate by muscles or nerves. 10. The oxidative decarboxylation of the branched-chain alpha-oxo acids is suggested as a regulatory site of branched-chain amino acid oxidation. Differences in regulation between muscle on the one hand, and nerve and aorta on the other, are discussed.

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