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

Response of splanchnic and whole-body leucine kinetics to treatment of children with edematous protein-energy malnutrition accompanied by infection.

BACKGROUND: Although the reduction in whole-body protein turnover and net protein loss induced by protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) has been well documented, it is unclear whether the protein-sparing mechanisms elicited by chronically inadequate intakes of dietary protein and energy are affected by the protein catabolic response to infection. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to determine whether the presence of infection alters the PEM-induced reduction in whole-body protein metabolism. DESIGN: We determined whole-body leucine kinetics in 4 boys and 3 girls aged 6-15 mo with edematous PEM and infection approximately 3 d after admission (study 1), when they were both infected and malnourished; approximately 11 d after admission (study 2), when infection had resolved but they were still anthropometrically malnourished; and at recovery (study 3), when weight-for-length was at least 90% of that expected. RESULTS: The children had significantly less leucine flux in both study 1 and study 2 than they had in study 3. There were no significant differences in the amount of leucine released from protein breakdown or used for protein synthesis between study 1 and study 2. There were no significant differences in leucine balance or in either the amount or percentage of enteral leucine extracted by the splanchnic tissues among the 3 studies. CONCLUSIONS: When subjects are in the fed state, severe PEM induces a marked reduction in whole-body protein synthesis and breakdown rates, and the presence of infection does not alter this adaptation and hence the overall protein balance. A corollary is that children with severe PEM do not mount a protein catabolic response to infection.[1]


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