Substantial differences between organ and muscle specific tracer incorporation rates in a lactating dairy cow

N.A. Burd, H.M. Hamer, B. Pennings, W.F. Pellikaan, J.M.G. Senden, A. Gijsen, L.J.C. van Loon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


We aimed to produce intrinsically L-[1-13C]phenylalanine labeled milk and beef for subsequent use in human nutrition research. The collection of the various organ tissues after slaughter allowed for us to gain insight into the dynamics of tissue protein turnover in vivo in a lactating dairy cow. One lactating dairy cow received a constant infusion of L-[1-13C]phenylalanine (450 µmol/min) for 96 h. Plasma and milk were collected prior to, during, and after the stable isotope infusion. Twenty-four hours after cessation of the infusion the cow was slaughtered. The meat and samples of the various organ tissues (liver, heart, lung, udder, kidney, rumen, small intestine, and colon) were collected and stored. Approximately 210 kg of intrinsically labeled beef (bone and fat free) with an average L-[1-13C]phenylalanine enrichment of 1.8±0.1 mole percent excess (MPE) was obtained. The various organ tissues differed substantially in L-[1-13C]phenylalanine enrichments in the tissue protein bound pool, the highest enrichment levels were achieved in the kidney (11.7 MPE) and the lowest enrichment levels in the skeletal muscle tissue protein of the cow (between 1.5–2.4 MPE). The estimated protein synthesis rates of the various organ tissues should be regarded as underestimates, particularly for the organs with the higher turnover rates and high secretory activity, due to the lengthened (96 h) measurement period necessary for the production of the intrinsically labeled beef. Our data demonstrates that there are relatively small differences in L-[1-13C]phenylalanine enrichments between the various meat cuts, but substantial higher enrichment values are observed in the various organ tissues. We conclude that protein turnover rates of various organs are much higher when compared to skeletal muscle protein turnover rates in large lactating ruminants.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere68109
Number of pages9
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • tissue protein-synthesis
  • intrinsically labeled milk
  • human-nutrition research
  • amino-acids
  • resistance exercise
  • skeletal-muscle
  • neonatal pigs
  • whey-protein
  • elderly-men
  • whole-body

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Substantial differences between organ and muscle specific tracer incorporation rates in a lactating dairy cow'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this