Effects of branched-chain amino acids on placental amino acid transfer and insulin and glucagon release in the ovine fetus.Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2001 Aug; 185(2):487-95.AJ
Competition for placental amino acid transporters can affect the fetal supply of amino acids. Specifically, the branched-chain amino acids-isoleucine, leucine, and valine-may inhibit the transfer of other amino acids. This study was undertaken to determine the effect of branched-chain amino acids on the umbilical uptake of amino acids.
Six late-gestation ewes were infused sequentially for 2 hours with 3 different mixtures of amino acids: (1) one that was comparable to commercial parenteral nutrition preparations, (2) the same solution without branched-chain amino acids, and (3) branched-chain amino acids alone. Maternal and fetal blood samples were collected simultaneously for the determination of uterine and umbilical uptake values of amino acids, and for concentrations of arterial insulin, glucagon, glucose, and lactate before (control) and during (experimental) infusion.
Umbilical uptake of branched-chain amino acids increased significantly when they were present in the infusates. The fetal uptake of several other amino acids could be increased by increasing their maternal concentrations. Inhibition of umbilical uptake by branched-chain amino acids could be shown for threonine and methionine. The infusion of branched-chain amino acids alone did not affect maternal and fetal insulin or glucagon concentrations.
In late-gestation sheep, an increase in maternal plasma concentration of branched-chain amino acids led to increased branched-chain amino acid umbilical uptake, but branched-chain amino acids can also inhibit the transport of some amino acids to the fetus. Changes in fetal plasma concentration and uptake of branched-chain amino acid appear to have no significant effect on fetal insulin or glucagon.