Protein ingestion induces muscle insulin resistance independent of leucine-mediated mTOR activation

Gordon I. Smith, Jun Yoshino, Kelly L. Stromsdorfer, Seth J. Klein, Faidon Magkos, Dominic N. Reeds, Samuel Klein, Bettina Mittendorfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Increased plasma branched-chain amino acid concentrations are associated with insulin resistance, and intravenous amino acid infusion blunts insulin-mediated glucose disposal. We tested the hypothesis that protein ingestion impairs insulin-mediated glucose disposal by leucine-mediated mTOR signaling, which can inhibit AKT. We measured glucose disposal and muscle p-mTORSer2448, p-AKTSer2443, and p-AKTThr308 in 22 women during a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp procedure with and without concomitant ingestion of whey protein (0.6 g/kg fat-free mass; n = 11) or leucine that matched the amount given with whey protein (n = 11). Both whey protein and leucine ingestion raised plasma leucine concentration by approximately twofold and muscle p-mTORSer2448 by ∼30% above the values observed in the control (no amino acid ingestion) studies; p-AKTSer473 and p-AKThr308 were not affected by whey protein or leucine ingestion. Whey protein ingestion decreased insulin-mediated glucose disposal (median 38.8 [quartiles 30.8, 61.8] vs. 51.9 [41.0, 77.3] mmol glucose/mU insulin $ mL21 $ min21; P < 0.01), whereas ingestion of leucine did not (52.3 [43.3, 65.4] vs. 52.3 [43.9, 73.2]). These results indicate that 1) protein ingestion causes insulin resistance and could be an important regulator of postprandial glucose homeostasis and 2) the insulin-desensitizing effect of protein ingestion is not due to inhibition of AKT by leucine-mediated mTOR signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1555-1563
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2015


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