Measurement of muscle protein synthesis by positron emission tomography with L-[methyl-11C]methionine
Positron emission tomography (PET) with L-[methyl-11C]methionine was explored as an in vivo, noninvasive, quantitative method for measuring the protein synthesis rate (PSR) in paraspinal and hind limb muscles of anesthetized dogs. Approximately 25 mCi (1 Ci = 37 GBq) of L-[methyl-11C]methionine was injected intravenously, and serial images and arterial blood samples were acquired over 90 min. Data analysis was performed by fitting tissue- and metabolite-corrected arterial blood time-activity curves to a three-compartment model and assuming insignificant transamination and transmethylation in this tissue. PSR was calculated from fitted parameter values and plasma methionine concentrations. PSRs measured by PET were compared with arterio-venous (A-V) difference measurements across the hind limb during primed constant infusion (5-6 h) of L-[1-13C, methyl-2H3]methionine. Results of PET measurements demonstrated similar PSRs for paraspinal and hind limb muscles: 0.172 +/- 0.062 vs. 0.208 +/- 0.048 nmol-1.min-1.(g of muscle)-1 (P = not significant). PSR determined by the stable isotope technique was 0.27 +/- 0.050 nmol-1.min-1.(g of leg tissue)-1 (P < 0.07 from PET) and indicated that the contribution of transmethylation to total hind limb methionine utilization was approximately 10%. High levels of L-[methyl-11C]methionine utilization by bone marrow were observed. We conclude that muscle PSR can be measured in vivo by PET and that this approach offers promise for application in human metabolic studies.