Methods for studying protein synthesis and degradation in liver and skeletal muscle

Per Olof Hasselgren, Peter Pedersen, Harry C. Sax, Brad W. Warner, Josef E. Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Different methods used for measuring protein turnover in liver and skeletal muscle are described, with special emphasis on technical and practical aspects and the advantages and limitations of different techniques. In the first part of the review, the concept of precursor specific radioactivity and its importance for accurate determination of protein synthesis rate is discussed. In the second part, different in vivo techniques for protein turnover measurements are reviewed, including continuous administration of tracer amino acid, flooding dose technique, indirect measurement of protein synthesis, and estimation of protein degradation in vivo. In the third part of the report, in vitro techniques are described, including measurement of protein turnover in incubated liver slices, perfused liver, isolated hepatocytes, incubated isolated muscles or muscle biopsies, and perfused rat hemicorpus. In vivo techniques are preferred when accurate absolute values of protein turnover rates are desired. In vitro techniques offer the advantage of standardized conditions, maintaining strict control of substrate and hormone concentrations, and eliminating complicating interactions with other tissues. For several in vitro techniques, a good correlation has been demonstrated between relative changes in protein turnover in vitro and in vivo in different conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-415
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1988


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