The effect of hemodialysis on protein metabolism: A leucine kinetic study

Victoria S. Lim, Dennis M. Bier, Michael J. Flanigan, Sam T. Sum-Ping

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106 Scopus citations


To assess the effect of hemodialysis on protein metabolism, leucine flux was measured in seven patients before, during, and after high efficiency hemodialysis using cuprophane dialyzers and bicarbonate dialysate during a primed-constant infusion of L-[1-13C]leucine. The kinetics [μmol/kg per h, mean±SD] are as follows: leucine appearance into the plasma leucine pool was 86±28, 80±28, and 85±25, respectively, before, during, and after dialysis. Leucine appearance into the whole body leucine pool, derived from plasma [1-13C]α-ketoisocaproate enrichment, was 118+31, 118±31, and 114±28 before, during, and after dialysis, respectively. In the absence of leucine intake, appearance rate reflects protein degradation, which was clearly unaffected by dialysis. Leucine oxidation rate was 17.3±7.8 before, decreased to 13.8+7.8 during, and increased to 18.9±10.3 after dialysis (P = 0.027). Leucine protein incorporation was 101 ±26 before, was reduced to 89±23 during, and returned to 95±23 after dialysis (P = 0.13). Leucine net balance, the difference between leucine protein incorporation and leucine release from endogenous degradation, was -17.3±7.8 before, decreased to -28.5±11.0 during, and returned to -18.9±10.3 after dialysis (P < 0.0001). This markedly more negative leucine balance during dialysis was accountable by dialysate leucine loss, which was 14.4±6.2 μmol/kg per h. These data suggest that hemodialysis using a cuprophane membrane did not acutely induce protein degradation. It was, nevertheless, a net catabolic event because protein synthesis was reduced and amino acid was lost into the dialysate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2429-2436
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1993


  • Hemodialysis
  • Leucine kinetics
  • Protein flux

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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