Gender affects energy expenditure and influences the relative utilization of carbohydrate and fat as fuels. However, little is known about the possible effects of gender on protein metabolism. Thus, we compared whole body and plasma (albumin and fibrinogen) protein kinetics in the basal postabsorptive state in young, untrained volunteers divided into two groups according to gender (women: n = 17; age, 24 ± 4 yr; men: n = 17; age, 25 ± 2 yr). The two groups were matched for body mass index. Protein kinetics were measured by means of L-[1-14C]leucine infusion. The leucine whole body rate of appearance, an index of proteolysis, and nonoxidative rate of disappearance, an index of protein synthesis, were similar in the two groups. However, the leucine oxidation rate was significantly lower in women compared to men (0.23 ± 0.07 vs. 0.31 ± 0.08 μnol/kg·min; P = 0.0062). Similar results were obtained when data were adjusted for estimated body composition. Albumin and fibrinogen fractional secretion rates were not different in the two groups. In conclusion, in the basal state leucine oxidation is lower in women than in men regardless of body composition. This could be one of the factors contributing to the lower metabolic rate in women.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical