1. Rates of appearance and oxidation of plasma L-leucine, L-phenylalanine and L-tyrosine, as well as conversion of plasma phenylalanine into plasma tyrosine, were determined in 90-120 g rats after overnight starvation and while receiving 115-120 mumol of L-phenylalanine/h. 2. In the post-absorptive state, plasma tyrosine and phenylalanine appearances were similar, despite the fact that 22% of plasma tyrosine appearance could be attributed to the hydroxylation of phenylalanine. 3. A constant infusion of 115-120 mumol of L-phenylalanine/h did not significantly alter plasma leucine kinetics, but increased appearance of plasma phenylalanine and tyrosine. The percentage of phenylalanine and tyrosine appearance that was oxidized increased from 12.1% and 24.4% to 37.3% and 48.0% respectively. In phenylalanine-loaded rats, 72% of plasma tyrosine appearance could be attributed to the conversion of phenylalanine. 4. Whole-body tyrosine oxidation measured from a continuous infusion of either L-[14C]tyrosine or L-[14C]phenylalanine differed by 165%. 5. It can be concluded that, in the post-absorptive state, phenylalanine hydroxylation makes a substantial contribution to the plasma appearance of tyrosine and is significantly increased when phenylalanine is administered. The disposal of excess infused phenylalanine is a result of a greater percentage of plasma phenylalanine being converted into tyrosine and a greater proportion of tyrosine being further oxidized. However, apparent tyrosine oxidation rates estimated from plasma tyrosine specific radioactivities and appearance of expired 14CO2 during administration of [14C]tyrosine are underestimates of true rates, in part because tyrosine generated from phenylalanine hydroxylation is catabolized without freely equilibrating with the plasma compartment.
The contribution of phenylalanine to tyrosine metabolism in vivo. Studies in the post-absorptive and phenylalanine-loaded rat
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L L Moldawer, I Kawamura, B R Bistrian, G L Blackburn; The contribution of phenylalanine to tyrosine metabolism in vivo. Studies in the post-absorptive and phenylalanine-loaded rat. Biochem J 15 March 1983; 210 (3): 811–817. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/bj2100811
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