In vivo muscle amino acid transport involves two distinct processes

Sharon Miller, David Chinkes, David A. MacLean, Dennis Gore, Robert R. Wolfe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


We have tested the hypothesis that transit through the interstitial fluid, rather than across cell membranes, is rate limiting for amino acid uptake from blood into muscle in human subjects. To quantify muscle transmembrane transport of naturally occurring amino acids, we developed a novel 4-pool model that distinguishes between the interstitial and intracellular fluid compartments. Transport kinetics of phenylalanine, leucine, lysine, and alanine were quantified using tracers labeled with stable isotopes. The results indicate that interstitial fluid is a functional compartment insofar as amino acid kinetics are concerned. In the case of leucine and alanine, transit between blood and interstitial fluid was potentially rate limiting for muscle amino acid uptake and release in the postabsorptive state. For example, in the case of leucine, the rate of transport between blood and interstitial fluid compared with the corresponding rate between interstitial fluid and muscle was 247 ± 36 vs. 610 ± 95 nmol·min-1·100 ml leg-1, respectively (P < 0.05). Our results are consistent with the process of diffusion governing transit from blood to interstitial fluid without selectivity, and of specific amino acid transport systems with varying degrees of efficiency governing transit from interstitial fluid to muscle. These results imply that changes in factors that affect the transit of amino acids from blood through interstitial fluid, such as muscle blood flow or edema, could play a major role in controlling the rate of muscle amino acid uptake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E136-E141
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number1 50-1
StatePublished - Jul 2004


  • Interstitial fluid
  • Microdialysis
  • Stable isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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