Amino Acids

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Dietary supplementation with arginine and glutamic acid alters the expression of amino acid transporters in skeletal muscle of growing pigs

  • C. J. Hu
  • F. N. Li
  • Y. H. Duan
  • T. Zhang
  • H. W. Li
  • Y. L. Yin
  • G. Y. Wu
  • X. F. KongEmail author
Original Article


Sixty Duroc × Large White × Landrace pigs with an average initial body weight (BW) of 77.1 ± 1.3 kg were selected to investigate the effects of dietary supplementation with arginine (Arg) and/or glutamic acid (Glu) on free amino acid (FAA) profiles, expression of AA transporters, and growth-related genes in skeletal muscle. The animals were randomly assigned to one of five treatment groups (basic diet, iso-nitrogenous, Arg, Glu, and Arg + Glu groups). The results showed that plasma Glu concentration was lowest in the Arg + Glu group and highest in the Glu group (P < 0.05). In the longissimus dorsi (LD) muscle, the concentrations of histidine, Arg, and taurine in the Arg + Glu group were higher, and the concentrations of 3-methylhistidine was lower, than in the basic diet group (P < 0.05). The mRNA levels of ASC amino acid transporter-2 (ASCT2), L-type AA transporter 1, and sodium-coupled neutral amino acid transporter 2 in the LD muscle, as well as the mRNA levels of ASCT2 and proton-assisted amino acid transporter in the biceps femoris (BF) muscle, were higher in the Arg + Glu group compared to the basic diet group (P < 0.05). The mRNA levels of the muscle-specific RING finger-1 and muscle atrophy F-box genes in the LD muscle were downregulated in the Glu and Arg + Glu groups compared to the basic diet group (P < 0.05). Collectively, these findings suggest that dietary supplementation with both Arg and Glu increases intramuscular FAA concentrations and decreases the mRNA levels of genes involved in protein degradation in skeletal muscle.


Amino acid transporter Arginine Free amino acid Glutamic acid Growing pigs 



The present work was jointly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (nos. 31572421 and 31772613) and National Basic Research Program of China (nos. 2013CB127305 and 2012CB124704).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

The protocol for this study was approved by the Committee on the Ethics of Animal Experiments of the Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and it was conducted in accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Agro-Ecological Processes in Subtropical Region, Hunan Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Nutritional Physiology and Metabolic Process, National Engineering Laboratory for Pollution Control and Waste Utilization in Livestock and Poultry Production, Institute of Subtropical AgricultureChinese Academy of SciencesChangshaChina
  2. 2.College of Animal ScienceSouth China Agricultural UniversityGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Department of Animal ScienceTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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