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Training does not affect protein turnover in pre- and early pubertal female gymnasts


This study compared protein turnover in ten young female gymnasts [10.3 (0.5) years] engaged in regular intense physical training with ten age-matched controls [9.4 (0.6) years)]. Nitrogen flux ( Q), protein synthesis (PS), protein degradation (PD) and net protein turnover (NPB = PS−PD) were measured following a single oral dose of [15N]-glycine. The habitual dietary intake of each subject was assessed using a 7-day food record, with food portions being weighed before ingestion. The gymnasts had a low total energy intake which was unbalanced in the proportions of lipid, carbohydrate and protein. Protein flux was 7.19 (0.35)−−1 in the gymnasts and 7.53 (0.81)−−1 in the controls; protein synthesis was 6.06 (0.27)−−1 in the gymnasts and 6.53 (0.74)−−1 in the controls; protein degradation was 5.45 (0.38)−−1 in the gymnasts and 5.27 (0.74)−−1 in the controls. All data are presented as means and standard errors of the mean (SEM). There were no statistical differences for protein flux, protein synthesis or protein degradation between the two groups. However, NPB was lower (−14%) in the trained gymnasts than in the control group ( P <0.05), which might be explained by a greater protein ingestion in the control group on the day of the protocol ( P <0.05). These results show that in pre- and early pubertal female gymnasts intense training does not exert a demonstrable effect on protein turnover.

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The authors would like to thank the children and their parents for their co-operation and hard work throughout the study. In addition, we would like to thank M. Vermorel and P. Patureau Mirand (INRA, Clermond-Ferrand) for their specific suggestions in preparing the present manuscript and Mrs F. Reding (ULB, Brussels) for her skilful technical assistance.

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Correspondence to N. Boisseau.

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Boisseau, N., Persaud, C., Jackson, A.A. et al. Training does not affect protein turnover in pre- and early pubertal female gymnasts. Eur J Appl Physiol 94, 262–267 (2005).

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  • Exercise
  • Training
  • Children
  • Protein turnover
  • [15N]-glycine