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The measurement of mitochondrial protein synthesis after food ingestion, contractile activity, and/or disease is often used to provide insight into skeletal muscle adaptations that occur in the longer term. Studies have shown that protein ingestion stimulates mitochondrial protein synthesis in human skeletal muscle. Minor differences in the stimulation of mitochondrial protein synthesis occur after a single bout of resistance or endurance exercise. There appear to be no measurable differences in mitochondrial protein synthesis between critically ill patients and aged-matched controls. However, the mitochondrial protein synthetic response is reduced at a more advanced age. In this paper, we discuss the challenges involved in the measurement of human skeletal muscle mitochondrial protein synthesis rates based on stable isotope amino acid tracer methods. Practical guidelines are discussed to improve the reliability of the measurement of mitochondrial protein synthesis rates. The value of the measurement of mitochondrial protein synthesis after a single meal or exercise bout on the prediction of the longer term skeletal muscle mass and performance outcomes in both the healthy and disease populations requires more work, but we emphasize that the measurements need to be reliable to be of any value to the field.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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