Postabsorptive muscle protein metabolism in type 1 diabetic patients after pancreas transplantation

L. Luzi, L. Piceni Sereni, M. Spessot, R. Dodesini, M. R. Pastore, M. Bianchi, I. Terruzzi, A. Secchi, M. Cristallo, G. Pozza, V. Di Carlo

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Insulin was shown to induce protein anabolism in vivo mainly by inhibiting proteolysis. Heterotopic pancreas transplantation in type 1 diabetes mellitus is characterized by peripheral hyperinsulinemia due to systemic rather than portal insulin delivery. Therefore, we studied the postabsorptive muscle protein metabolism in type 1 diabetic patients with or without pancreas transplantation. The forearm balance technique was performed in 9 type 1 diabetic patients on exogenous insulin treatment, in 4 type 1 diabetic patients following successful pancreas transplantation and in 6 healthy volunteers. Labelled leucine and phenylalanine were infused to quantify whole-body and muscle protein synthesis, respectively. In the postabsorptive state, whole-body protein synthesis (leucine kinetics) was similar in pancreas-transplanted patients and controls. In contrast, muscle protein synthesis tended to be less negative in pancreas-transplanted patients with respect to type 1 diabetic patients and healthy volunteers. The present data suggest that recipients with peripheral insulin delivery and chronic hyperinsulinemia are characterized by a preferential stimulation of protein synthesis in muscle rather than in the splanchnic district. When insulin was infused acutely, while maintaining euglycemia, the whole-body and muscle protein synthesis rates were approximately halved in type 1 diabetic patients with and without pancreas transplantation. We conclude that pancreas transplantation is able to normalize basal and insulin-stimulated protein metabolism. Chronic hyperinsulinemia counteract steroid-induced protein degradation by means of a mild, but persistent stimulation of muscle protein synthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-224
Number of pages6
JournalActa Diabetologica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Muscle protein metabolism
  • Pancreas transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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    Luzi, L., Piceni Sereni, L., Spessot, M., Dodesini, R., Pastore, M. R., Bianchi, M., Terruzzi, I., Secchi, A., Cristallo, M., Pozza, G., & Di Carlo, V. (2000). Postabsorptive muscle protein metabolism in type 1 diabetic patients after pancreas transplantation. Acta Diabetologica, 37(4), 219-224.