Insulin-induced alterations in amino acid metabolism in the fetal lamb

Anthony F Philipps, T. S. Rosenkrantz, J. A. Lemons, I. Knox, P. J. Porte, J. R. Raye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


To investigate the role of insulin in modulation of fetal amino acid metabolism, insulin infusions were performed in 10 chronically-catheterized fetal lambs. Fetal insulin infusion caused a dose related fall in the arterial blood concentrations of 13 of 15 amino acids studied as well as a 15-25% decrease in total amino acid concentration. Fetal lambs exhibited a biphasic response of umbilical total amino acid uptake when compared to fetal blood insulin concentration, i.e., at achieved fetal insulin concentrations <100 μU/ml, umbilical uptake of 9 specific amino acids as well as summed amino acid uptake from the umbilical circulation were depressed, but at insulin concentrations of 100-350 μU/ml, amino acid uptakes were similar to or above control values. Insulin infusion also caused a drastic diminution in the rate of fetal urea excretion. These findings suggest that insulin acts in the fetus to depress amino acid catabolism, thus altering amino acid extraction and uptake. Depressed protein catabolism with or without enhanced amino acid uptake would have the theoretical effect of stimulation of net protein synthesis with a shift toward use of nonprotein substrates for energy purposes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-259
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Developmental Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Physiology


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