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All tissues undergo continuous reconditioning via the complex orchestration of changes in tissue protein synthesis and breakdown rates. Skeletal muscle tissue has been well studied in this regard, and has been shown to turnover at a rate of 1–2% per day in vivo in humans. Few data are available on protein synthesis rates of other tissues. Because of obvious limitations with regard to brain tissue sampling no study has ever measured brain protein synthesis rates in vivo in humans. Here, we applied stable isotope methodology to directly assess protein synthesis ratesin neocortex and hippocampus tissue of six patients undergoing temporal lobectomy for drug-resistant temporal lobe epilepsy (Clinical trial registration: NTR5147). Protein synthesis rates of neocortex and hippocampus tissue averaged 0.17 0.01 and 0.13 0.01%/h, respectively. Brain tissue protein synthesis rates were 3–4-fold higher than skeletal muscle tissue protein synthesis rates (0.05 0.01%/h; P 5 0.001). In conclusion, the protein turnover rate of the human brain is much higher than previously assumed.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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