Feeding protein-deficient diets to rats is known to stimulate diet-induced thermogenesis and activate brown adipose tissue (BAT). The fact that BAT protein content, unlike that of other tissues, is unnaffected by protein deficiency prompted us to measure tissue protein synthesis in vivo in animals maintained on normal- (18.8%) and low- (7.6%) protein (LP) diets. Protein synthesis was depressed in the liver of the LP rats due to a fall in RNA activity, with no change in RNA content, and synthesis was also reduced in skeletal muscle from the LP group, but this was due to decreased RNA content with no change in RNA activity. Conversely, protein synthesis, RNA, DNA, and protein content of interscapular BAT were all unaltered in protein-restricted animals. These data indicate that, unlike liver, skeletal muscle, and whole carcass, BAT protein synthesis is not reduced in protein-restricted rats, and this may be related to activation of thermo-genesis in the tissue.

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