Evidence for an anabolic action of essential amino acid analogues in uremia and starvation.
Nitrogen-free analogues of essential amino acids, when administered with those essential amino acids for which analogues are ineffective or unavailable, exert three actions that may be beneficial in protein-deficient or protein-intolerant subjects. First, they bring about an increase in the concentrations of essential amino acids in the blood at the expense of the concentrations of certain non-essential amino acids, notably alanine and glutamine. This effect is most readily demonstrated in children with congenital defects of the urea cycle enzymes, but can also be seen during daily therapy of adults with portal-systemic encephalopathy. Second, these compounds promote nitrogen balance through their suppressive effect on urea synthesis (an effect not attributable to re-utilization of ammonia derived from urease action in the gut). This action is demonstrable in obese subjects who are already conserving nitrogen maximally at the end of a prolonged fast and can also be shown in the first week of fasting when the branched-chain keto acids alone are administered. In both situations, improved nitrogen conservation persists long after the analogues are metabolized, suggesting enzyme adaptations. In chronic uremics, nitrogen balance can be maintained in some (but not all) patients on very low nitrogen intakes. Third, these mixtures may delay or reverse the progressive decline in glomerular filtration rate characteristic of chronic renal failure in some cases: thus, for example, 5 of 6 patients taken off chronic dialysis have maintained lower serum urea concentrations without evidence of protein malnutrition for periods of 2-24 months.
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Pub Type(s)Case Reports