, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 969-976

Combination of BCAAs and glutamine enhances dermal collagen protein synthesis in protein-malnourished rats

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Abstract

Skin collagen decreases in protein-malnourished states. Amino acids regulate protein metabolism, glutamine stimulates collagen synthesis through the conversion process to proline and provides 75 % of the intracellular free proline in fibroblasts. However, the impact of these amino acids on collagen synthesis under malnutrition has not been examined. We investigated the effect of amino acids on dermal tropocollagen synthesis in protein-malnourished rats. The fractional synthesis rate (FSR, %/h) of dermal tropocollagen was evaluated by the incorporation of l-[ring-2H5]-phenylalanine after 4 h infusion of each amino acid and the stable isotope. None of the infused 12 single amino acids (glutamine, proline, alanine, arginine, glutamate, glycine, aspartate, serine, histidine, lysine, phenylalanine and threonine) significantly increased the FSR (P = 0.343, one-way ANOVA). In contrast, amino acid mixtures of essential amino acids + glutamine + arginine (EAARQ) and branched-chain amino acids + glutamine (BCAAQ) significantly increased the FSR compared to saline, but the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and amino acid mixture of collagen protein (AAC) did not alter the FSR (saline, 0.96 ± 0.24 %/h; EAARQ, 1.76 ± 0.89 %/h; BCAAQ 1.71 ± 0.36 %/h; BCAAs, 1.08 ± 0.20 %/h and AAC 1.39 ± 0.35 %/h, P < 0.05, Tukey’s test). Proline conversion from glutamine represented only 3.9 % of the free proline in skin, as evaluated by the primed-constant infusion of l-d7-proline and l-α-15N-glutamine in rats. These results suggested that the combination of BCAAQ is a key factor for the enhancement of skin collagen synthesis in protein-malnourished rats. The contribution of extracellular free glutamine on de novo proline synthesis and collagen synthesis is very low in vivo compared to the contribution in vitro.