CARRARO, F., A. NALDINI, J.-M. WEBER, and R. R. WOLFE. Alanine kinetics in humans during low-intensity exercise. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 26, No. 3, pp. 348–353, 1994. There is little doubt that pyruvate contributes to the increased alanine flux in exercise, but the role of protein breakdown is less clear. To quantify the relative contributions of pyruvate and protein breakdown to the increase in alanine flux observed in exercise, we used a primed, constant infusion of 15N-alanine and 1-13C-lactate. The rate of appearance of alanine, the de novo synthesis of alanine, and rate of alanine release from protein breakdown were determined in five healthy subjects at rest and during exercise. The exercise was performed for 120 min on a treadmill at 45% of the subject's VO2max. The total rate of appearance of alanine, calculated with the 15N-alanine tracer, increased significantly during exercise from 4.9 ± 0.5 to 7.9 ± 0.9 mol·kg-1. The amount of alanine derived from pyruvate also significantly increased during exercise (3.2 ± 0.3 vs 4.5 ± 0.7), but the proportion of the total decreased from 65% at rest to 57% during exercise (statistically significant, P <0.05). Consequently, the alanine derived from protein breakdown significantly increased (1.7 ± 0.5 vs 3.4 ± 0.8) and was also increased as percent of total alanine flux. Thus, we conclude that during low-intensity exercise whole body protein catabolism is accelerated.
©1994The American College of Sports Medicine