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Monday, November 12, 2012

Direct Central Nervous System Effect of Alcohol Alters Synthesis and Degradation of Skeletal Muscle Protein

Alcohol can directly impair protein synthesis in cultured myocytes as well as in in situ perfused skeletal muscle. However, alcohol in the general circulation diffuses rapidly into the central nervous system (CNS). Therefore, this study determined whether localized elevation of alcohol within the CNS is capable of decreasing muscle protein synthesis. 

Conscious unstrained male rats received a continuous intracerebroventricular (ICV) infusion of ethanol and skeletal muscle protein synthesis and degradation were assessed. 

ICV alcohol decreased protein synthesis in the gastrocnemius after 6 and 24 h, compared with the time-matched controls. The reduction was equivalent for both sarcoplasmic and myofibrillar proteins and was reversible. The inhibitory effect of alcohol was not prevented by the catalase inhibitor 3-amino-1,2,4-triazole and was mimicked by ICV-administered t-butanol. The alcohol-induced decrease in muscle protein synthesis was associated with a concomitant reduction in phosphorylation of 4E-binding protein and ribosomal S6 kinase-1, suggesting impaired mammalian target of rapamycin kinase activity. ICV alcohol also impaired the ability of leucine to stimulate protein synthesis. Conversely, ICV alcohol increased muscle pr
oteasome activity and muscle RING-finger protein-1 mRNA content. Altered muscle protein metabolism was not associated with changes in muscle mRNA content for tumor necrosis factor α, interleukin-6 or insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I or circulating insulin or IGF-I.  

Selective elevation of alcohol within the CNS is capable of decreasing protein synthesis and increasing protein degradation in muscle in the absence of alcohol in the general circulation, thus revealing a previously unrecognized central neural mechanism, which may account for part of the inhibitory effect of ingested alcohol on muscle protein homeostasis.

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