Open Access
Reprod. Nutr. Dev.
Volume 46, Number 3, May-June 2006
Page(s) 227 - 239
Published online 30 May 2006
Reprod. Nutr. Dev. 46 (2006) 227-239
DOI: 10.1051/rnd:2006015

The effect of dietary protein on the amino acid supply and threonine metabolism in the pregnant rat

William D. Reesa, Susan M. Haya and Christos Antipatisa, b

a  The Rowett Research Institute, Greenburn Road, Bucksburn, Aberdeen, AB21 9SB, Scotland
b  Present address: DSM Nutritional Products Ltd, 4002 Basel, Switzerland

(Received 7 June 2005; accepted 24 February 2006; published online 13 June 2006)

Abstract - To characterise the effects of dietary protein content on threonine metabolism during pregnancy, rats were fed diets containing 18% or 9% protein and then killed at different stages of gestation. Serum threonine concentrations fell significantly faster in the animals fed the diet containing 9% protein when compared to those fed the diet containing 18% protein. On day 4 of gestation the rate of threonine oxidation was higher in maternal liver homogenates prepared from the animals fed the diet containing 18% protein. The rate of threonine oxidation by liver homogenates fell as gestation proceeded in both diet groups. The activity of threonine dehydrogenase in the maternal liver was unaffected by dietary protein content at all stages of gestation. Serine-threonine dehydratase activity in homogenates of the maternal liver was transiently increased during the early stages of gestation in the animals fed high protein diets but was unchanged in the low protein groups. There was an increase in serine-threonine dehydratase activity in the kidney during the later stages of gestation but this was unaffected by the protein content of the maternal diet. These data show that the changes in free threonine concentrations cannot be accounted for through changes in the oxidation rate and suggest that some other factor influences the unusual metabolism of this amino acid during gestation.

Key words: threonine dehydratase / threonine dehydrogenase / protein metabolism / pregnancy / foetus / metabolic programming

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2006