Rates of muscle protein synthesis were measured in vivo in tissues of post-absorptive young rats that were given intravenous infusions of various combinations of insulin and amino acids. In the absence of amino acid infusion, there was a steady rise in muscle protein synthesis with plasma insulin concentration up to 158 mu units/ml, but when a complete amino acids mixtures was included maximal rates were obtained at 20 mu units/ml. The effect of the complete mixture could be reproduced by a mixture of essential amino acids or of branched-chain amino acids, but not by a non-essential mixture, alanine, methionine or glutamine. It is concluded that amino acids, particularly the branched-chain ones, increase the sensitivity of muscle protein synthesis to insulin.

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