The single biopsy approach is reliable for the measurement of muscle protein synthesis rates in vivo in older men.

N.A. Burd, B. Pennings, B.B. Groen, A.P. Gijsen, J.M. Senden, L.J.C. van Loon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We aimed to assess the reliability of the single biopsy approach for calculating muscle protein synthesis rates as compared to the well described sequential muscle biopsy approach following a primed continuous infusion of L-[ring-(2)H(5)]phenylalanine and GC-MS analysis in older men. Two separate experimental infusion protocols, with differing stable isotope amino acid incorporation times, were employed consisting of n=27 (Experiment 1) or n=9 (Experiment 2). Specifically, mixed muscle protein FSR were calculated from baseline plasma protein enrichments and muscle protein enrichments obtained at 90 min or 50 min (1BX SHORT), 210 min or 170 min (1BX LONG), and between the muscle protein enrichments obtained at 90 and 210 min or 50 min and 170 min (2BX) of the infusion for Experiments 1 and 2, respectively. In Experiment 2, we also assessed the error that is introduced to the single muscle biopsy approach when non-tracer naive subjects are recruited for participation in a primed continuous infusion of isotope labeled amino acids. In Experiment 1, applying the individual plasma protein enrichment values to the single muscle biopsy approach resulted in no differences in muscle protein FSR between the 1BX SHORT (0.031+/-0.003 %(.)h(-1)), 1BX LONG (0.032+/-0.002%(.)h(-1)), or the 2BX approach (0.034+/-0.002%*h-1). A significant correlation in muscle protein FSR was observed only between the 1BX LONG and 2BX approach (r=0.8, P<0.001). Similar results were observed in Experiment 2. In addition, using the single biopsy approach in non-tracer naive-state results in a muscle protein FSR that is negative for both the 1BX SHORT (-0.67+/-0.051%(.)h(-1)) and 1BX LONG (-0.19+/-0.051%(.)h(-1)) approach. This is the first study to demonstrate that the single biopsy approach, coupled with the background enrichment of L-[ring-(2)H(5)]-phenylalanine of mixed plasma proteins, generates data that are similar to using the sequential muscle biopsy approach in the elderly population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)896-902
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


  • stable isotope
  • amino acid
  • phenylalanine
  • AGE

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