Relationship of resting metabolic rate to body composition and protein turnover

S. Welle, K. S. Nair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined whether variability among healthy young adults in resting metabolic rate, normalized for the amount of metabolically active tissue (assessed by total body potassium), is related to protein turnover. Resting metabolic rate was measured by indirect calorimetry for 2 h in 26 men and 21 women, 19-33 yr old, with simultaneous estimation of protein turnover during a 4-h infusion of L-[1-13C]leucine. After adjusting metabolic rate for total body potassium, the standard deviation was only 89 kcal/day, or 5.5% of the average value. There was a high correlation between leucine flux (an index of proteolysis) and metabolic rate (r = 0.84) and between the nonoxidized portion of leucine flux (an index of protein synthesis) and metabolic rate (r = 0.83). This relationship was weaker, but still significant, after adjusting leucine metabolism and metabolic rate for total body potassium (r = 0.36 for leucine flux vs. metabolic rate, r = 0.33 for nonoxidized portion of leucine flux vs. metabolic rate, P < 0.05). The regression analysis suggested that the contribution of protein turnover to resting metabolic rate was ~ 20% in an average subject. Metabolic rate and protein turnover were highest in the subjects with the greatest amount of body fat, even after accounting for differences in whole body potassium. Neither resting metabolic rate nor protein turnover was related to total or free concentrations of thyroxine or triiodothyronine, within the euthyroid range. We conclude that 1) resting metabolic rate is quite homogeneous in healthy young adults after accounting for differences in body composition , 2) differences in protein turnover explain a small but significant fraction of the variability in resting metabolic rate, 3) increased body fat is associated with elevated metabolic rate and protein turnover.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E990-E998
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Volume258
Issue number6 21-6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1990

Keywords

  • calorimetry
  • leucine flux
  • total body potassium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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