1. The effect of an infusion of sodium β-hydroxybutyrate on leucine and alanine metabolism was investigated in dogs starved for 12 h. To determine whether the metabolic changes produced by this infusion were due to the resultant alkalaemia the effect of an equimolar infusion of sodium bicarbonate was also studied.
2. The sodium β-hydroxybutyrate infusion reduced alanine concentration as a result of a decrease in alanine production rate and an increase in alanine metabolic clearance rate. The sodium bicarbonate infusion induced a small decrease in alanine concentration which was due to an increased metabolic clearance rate. Alanine production rate showed no change. This demonstrates that the fall in alanine concentration after a sodium β-hydroxybutyrate infusion is due both to a ketone-specific inhibitory effect on alanine production rate and an increased metabolic clearance rate caused by the alkalaemia.
3. Leucine concentration was increased after the ketone infusion due to a small increase in production rate and there was a small increase in the rate of leucine incorporation into protein. Alkalaemia had no effect on leucine concentration or metabolism.