Protein synthesis and degradation during starvation-induced cardiac atrophy in rabbits.
To determine the relative importance of protein degradation in the development of starvation-induced cardiac atrophy, in vivo fractional synthetic rates of total cardiac protein, myosin heavy chain, actin, light chain 1, and light chain 2 were measured in fed and fasted rabbits by continuous infusion of [3H] leucine. In addition, the rate of left ventricular protein accumulation and loss were assessed in weight-matched control and fasted rabbits. Rates of total cardiac protein degradation were then estimated as the difference between rates of synthesis and growth. Fasting produced left ventricular atrophy by decreasing the rate of left ventricular protein synthesis (34.8 +/- 1.4, 27.3 +/- 3.0, and 19.3 +/- 1.2 mg/day of left ventricular protein synthesized for 0-, 3-, and 7-day fasted rabbits, respectively). Inhibition of contractile protein synthesis was evident by significant reductions in the fractional synthetic rates of all myofibrillar protein subunits. Although fractional rates of protein degradation increased significantly within 7 days of fasting, actual amounts of left ventricular protein degraded per day were unaffected. Thus, prolonged fasting profoundly inhibits the synthesis of new cardiac protein, including the major protein constituents of the myofibril. Both this inhibition in new protein synthesis as well as a smaller but significant reduction in the average half-lives of cardiac proteins are responsible for atrophy of the heart in response to fasting.
- Copyright © 1987 by American Heart Association