The role of leucine in the regulation of protein metabolism

Peter J. Garlick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studies both in vivo and in vitro have shown that leucine at a very high dose can stimulate muscle protein synthesis, an effect that is enhanced in vivo by insulin secreted in response to the leucine dose. High leucine can also inhibit protein degradation in skeletal muscle, as well as in liver. In contrast, at normal physiological levels, increasing leucine concentration by infusion stimulates muscle protein synthesis by enhancing its sensitivity to insulin. It is concluded that the role of leucine in vivo is to provide a signal that amino acids are available, which in combination with the signal of energy availability from insulin, stimulates muscle protein synthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1553S-1556S
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number6 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Branched-chain amino acids
  • Insulin
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Muscle
  • Protein synthesis
  • Valine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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