Systemic infection with Escherichia coli significantly decreased feed intake, slowed growth of the whole body and skeletal muscles, and severely inhibited muscle protein accumulation in both chicks and rats. Treatment with naproxen (6-methoxy-alpha-methyl-2-naphthaleneacetic acid), an inhibitor of prostaglandin production, decreased weight losses of body and muscle, and significantly inhibited muscle protein wasting in infected chicks and rats. E. coli infection increased net protein degradation by 44.8% (P less than 0.05) and prostaglandin E2 production by 148% (P less than 0.05) in isolated extensor digitorum communis muscle from chicks on day 2 after infection. Naproxen treatment significantly decreased net protein degradation and prostaglandin E2 production in infected chicks to values seen in muscles of healthy controls. Quantitatively and qualitatively similar results were seen in isolated rat epitrochlearis muscle.

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