The general perception that catabolism and inflammation are associated with a high synthesis rate of total liver protein and a low albumin synthesis rate has been challenged in recent years by several studies in man, indicating that the synthesis rate of albumin in response to a catabolic insult is increased rather than decreased. Thus changes in liver protein synthesis rates in conjunction with catabolism and acute inflammation in man need to be characterized better. The aim of the present study was to measure protein synthesis rates of total liver protein and albumin during a state of acute inflammation. Patients (n=10) undergoing acute laparoscopic cholecystectomy due to acute cholecystitis were investigated. FSRs (fractional synthesis rates) of total liver protein (liver biopsy specimens) and albumin (plasma samples) were investigated as early as possible during the surgical procedure, using a flooding dose of L-[2H5]phenylalanine. The results were compared with a reference group of patients without cholecystitis undergoing elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy (n=17). FSR of total liver protein was 60% higher (P<0.001) and the FSR of albumin was 45% higher (P<0.01) in the cholecystitis patients compared with the control group. In conclusion, the synthesis rates of total liver protein and albumin are both increased in patients with an acute general inflammatory reaction undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

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