Effects of 3-hydroxybutyrate and free fatty acids on muscle protein kinetics and signaling during LPS-induced inflammation in humans: anticatabolic impact of ketone bodies

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Background: Acute inflammation, and subsequent release of bacterial products (e.g. LPS), inflammatory cytokines, and stress hormones, is catabolic, and the loss of lean body mass predicts morbidity and mortality. Lipid intermediates may reduce protein loss, but the roles of free fatty acids (FFAs) and ketone bodies during acute inflammation are unclear.

Objective: We aimed to test whether infusions of 3-hydroxybutyrate (3OHB), FFAs, and saline reduce protein catabolism during exposure to LPS and Acipimox (to restrict and control endogenous lipolysis).

Design: A total of 10 healthy male subjects were randomly tested 3 times, with: 1) LPS, Acipimox (Olbetam) and saline, 2) LPS, Acipimox, and nonesterified fatty acids (Intralipid), and 3) LPS, Acipimox, and 3OHB, during a 5-h basal period and a 2-h hyperinsulinemic, euglycemic clamp. Labeled phenylalanine, tyrosine, and urea tracers were used to estimate protein kinetics, and muscle biopsies were taken for Western blot analysis of protein metabolic signaling.

Results: 3OHB infusion increased 3OHB concentrations (P < 0.0005) to 3.5 mM and decreased whole-body phenylalanine-to-tyrosine degradation. Basal and insulin-stimulated net forearm phenylalanine release decreased by >70% (P < 0.005), with both appearance and phenylalanine disappearance being profoundly decreased. Phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2α at Ser51 was increased in skeletal muscle, and S6 kinase phosphorylation at Ser235/236 tended (P = 0.074) to be decreased with 3OHB infusion (suggesting inhibition of protein synthesis), whereas no detectable effects were seen on markers of protein breakdown. Lipid infusion did not affect phenylalanine kinetics, and insulin sensitivity was unaffected by interventions.

Conclusion: During acute inflammation, 3OHB has potent anticatabolic actions in muscle and at the whole-body level; in muscle, reduction of protein breakdown overrides inhibition of synthesis. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01752348.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume108
Issue4
Pages (from-to)857-867
Number of pages11
ISSN0002-9165
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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