Dietary crude protein has minimal effect on the activity of selected enzymes of methionine catabolism in kittens fed diets near-limiting in methionine

M. J. Strieker, James Morris, E. H. Avery, R. A. Freedland, Quinton Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Previous experiments have shown that increasing the dietary crude protein (CP) of cats does not increase urea cycle enzymes or alanine amino transferase as occurs in rats. Also when an essential amino acid (EAA) is limiting in a diet for growing kittens, the kittens do not exhibit an amino acid imbalance when other EAAs are added to the diet. To study the metabolic basis for these observations which are different from that found in omnivores and herbivores, the hypothesis that increased dietary CP decreases methionine catabolism, so more is spared for growth, was tested. Fifteen male kittens were randomly assigned to one of three dietary treatments. Each diet contained 2.5 g l-methionine/kg diet and 200, 300 or 500 g CP/kg diet. The livers and kidneys were removed and assayed for methionine transaminase (MTA), cystathionase (CASE) and cystathionine synthase (CS). Free amino acid concentrations were determined in liver, kidney and plasma. The 300 and 500 g CP/kg groups had significantly greater kidney weights and body weight gains than the 200 g CP/kg group. Hepatic MTA activity was lower in the 300 than the 200 or 500 g CP/kg groups (p < 0.05). Renal MTA and CASE activities were 35% and 50% greater, respectively, for the 500 g CP/kg group than for the 200 g CP/kg diet group (p < 0.05). Renal CS activities for the 300 and 500 g CP/kg groups were 29% (p > 0.05) and 38% (p < 0.05) greater, respectively, than the 200 g CP/kg group. Cyst(e)ine concentrations were lower in the livers of the 500 g CP/kg group than the 200 g CP/kg group (p < 0.05). Cystathionine was lower in plasma and kidney from the 500 g CP/kg diet group than from the 200 g CP/kg diet group (p < 0.05). It was concluded that the metabolic basis for the increased growth of kittens fed diets marginally limiting in methionine, with increasing concentrations of dietary CP, was not mediated through decreased enzyme activity associated with the catabolism of methionine, but was the result of an increase in food (methionine) intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-156
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008



  • Catabolic enzymes
  • Kittens
  • Methionine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this