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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A minimally invasive tracer protocol is effective for assessing the response of leucine kinetics and oxidation to vaccination in chronically energy-deficient adult males and children.

In disadvantaged populations, recurrent infections lead to a loss of body nitrogen and worsen nutritional status. The resulting malnutrition, in its turn, produces a greater susceptibility to infection. This study aimed to examine the ability of a new minimally invasive tracer protocol to measure leucine oxidation, and then to use it to quantify the effect of vaccination on leucine kinetics and oxidation. Undernourished men (n = 5; body mass index 16.3 +/- 0.9 kg/m(2)) and children (n = 9; age 4.1 +/- 0.6 y; weight-for-age Z-score -2.3 +/- 0.7) underwent metabolic studies 6 d before and 1 d after vaccination with diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus ( DPT). The tracer protocol was performed in the fed state and involved two 3-h sequential periods of frequent (20 min) oral doses of NaH(13)CO(3) or [1-(13)C] leucine. Frequent breath samples and urine collections were made. Blood samples were obtained from the men and used for the determination of the isotopic enrichment of alpha-ketoisocaproic acid. The prevaccination oxidation of leucine (percentage of dose +/- SD) was 18.1 +/- 2.3 (men) and 16.7 +/- 3.8 (children). One day after vaccination, these values had risen to 19. 9 +/- 1.9 (P < 0.05) in the men and to 19.5 +/- 4.6 (P < 0.01) in the children. In the adults, vaccination was associated with a rise in whole-body protein breakdown [mg protein/(kg.h)] from 200 +/- 40 to 240 +/- 10 (P < 0.05). A minor simulated infection increases leucine catabolism in undernourished humans and this new, minimally invasive protocol is sufficiently sensitive to measure these changes.[1]


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