Induction of Expression of Branched-Chain Aminotransferase and Alpha-Keto Acid Dehydrogenase in Rat Tissues During Lactation

  • Soledad DeSantiago
  • Nimbe Torres
  • Susan Hutson
  • Armando R. Tovar
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 501)


This study was designed to determine the effect of lactation and weaning on the gene expression of branched-chain aminotransaminase (BCAT) and branched-chain a-keto acid dehydrogenase (BCKD) in different tissues of the lactating rat. BCAT activity increased in mammary tissue during lactation and was 6-fold higher than in virgin rats. This increase was associated with an increase in protein levels measured by immunoblot analysis, and with an increase in BCAT mitochondrial (BCATm) mRNA concentration. Twenty-four hours after weaning, BCAT activity, protein con-centration, and mRNA levels in the dam decreased. BCAT activity, protein enzyme levels, and BCATm mRNA concentration in muscle were higher in weaning rats than in lactating rats. BCAT cytosolic (BCATc) mRNA was not expressed in mammary tissue, and there was no BCATc enzyme detected by Western blot in any physiologi-cal state. Mammary tissue BCKD activity increased and was active (dephosphory-lated) during the lactation period. The level of enzyme also increased and the mRNA level for the E2 subunit in mammary tissue was 10-fold higher than the virgin values. Hepatic enzyme activity increased during weaning, and this was associated with the protein level and with the mRNA level of the E2 subunit. Muscle BCKD activity and protein content were the lowest of all tissues, and the E2 subunit mRNA level was barely detected by Northern blot analysis. The results suggest gene regulation of the two main catabolic enzymes of the branched-chain amino acid metabolism during lactation.


Mammary Gland Mammary Tissue Amino Acid Uptake BCAA Metabolism Protein Enzyme Level 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Soledad DeSantiago
    • 1
  • Nimbe Torres
    • 1
  • Susan Hutson
    • 2
  • Armando R. Tovar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Nutritional PhysiologySalvador Zubirán National Institute of NutritionMexicoMexico
  2. 2.Department of BiochemistryWake Forest University Bowman Gray School of MedicineWinston-SalemUSA

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