1. The influences of age and weaning on muscle protein synthesis were studied in vivo, by injecting a large dose of [3H]valine into 1-, 5- and 8-week-old suckling or 8-week-old weaned lambs. 2. The fractional rates of protein synthesis, in red- and white-fibre-type skeletal muscles or striated and smooth visceral muscles, were in 8-week-old suckling animals 24-37% of their values at 1 week of age. This developmental decline was related to decreased capacities for protein synthesis, i.e. RNA/protein ratios. 3. At 8 weeks of age, suckling and weaned lambs had similar fractional synthesis rates, capacities for protein synthesis and efficiencies of protein synthesis (i.e. rates of protein synthesis relative to RNA) in skeletal muscles. 4. In contrast, visceral-muscle fractional synthesis rates were lower in 8-week-old suckling lambs than in weaned animals, owing to decreased efficiencies of protein synthesis. It was concluded that developmental factors and the change to a solid diet, or weaning in itself, or both, affect differently skeletal and visceral muscle protein synthesis in the immature lamb.

This content is only available as a PDF.