1. Diaphragms from 48h-starved rats were incubated in Krebs-Ringer bicarbonate medium at 37degreesC for 30min and then transferred into new medium and incubated for 1, 2 and 3 h. 2. The amount of free amino acids found at the end of each time of incubation was larger than the amount at the beginning of incubation, indicating that in this system proteolysis is prevailing. 3. The diaphragms was releasing mainly alanine and glutamine into the incubation medium. 4. Within the periods of incubation the release and metabolism of free amino acids was proceeding at a constant rate. 5. Addition of sodium DL-3-hydroxybutyrate decreased the tissue content of several amino acids, among which were tyrosine and phenylalanine, suggesting that proteolysis was decreased by ketone bodies. 6. In the presence of glucose (10mM) and branched-chain amino acids (0.5mM), sodium DL-3-hydroxybutyrate at concentrations of 4 or 6 mM resulted in 30% decrease in tissue alanine content and a 20% decline in alanine release. Release of taurine and glutamine was decreased by 19 and 16% respectively with 6 mM-sodium DL-3-hydroxybutyrate. Addition of sodium acetoacetate (1-3mM) also resulted in a 20-35% decrease in tissue content of alanine, glutamine and taurine and in a 15-24% decrease of alanine and glutamine release. Smaller decreases (less than 15%) in the release of glycine, threonine, proline, serine and aspartate were also observed in the presence of sodium DL-3-hydroxybutyrate or sodium acetoacetate. 7. Substitution of pyruvate (1.0mM) for glucose in the presence of acetoacetate restored alanine and glutamine production to control values. In the presence of acetoacetate, pyruvate also increased the tissue content of aspartate by 77% and decreased the tissue content of glutamate by 30%. 8. It is suggested that in diaphragms from starved rats, ketone bodies (a) in the absence of other substrates inhibit protein catabolism and (b) in the presence of glucose and branched-chain amino acids decrease alanine and glutamine production, by inhibiting glycolysis.

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