Egg White Protein Promotes Developmental Growth in Rodent Muscle Independently of Leucine Content

Kido K ,Koshinaka K ,Iizawa H ,5 October 2021 ,Egg White Protein Promotes Developmental Growth in Rodent Muscle Independently of Leucine Content ,The Journal of Nutrition ,


Leucine has unique anabolic properties, serving as a nutrient signal that stimulates muscle protein synthesis.

We tested whether the leucine concentration is the only factor determining protein quality for muscle development.

We selected 3 dietary proteins: casein (CAS), egg white protein (EWP), and albumin (ALB), representing the leucine concentrations of ∼8.3%, 7.7%, and 6.7% of the total protein (wt:wt), respectively. In the chronic feeding experiment, these proteins were pair-fed to growing male Wistar rats [110–135 g body weight (BW)] for 14 d as a protein source, providing 10% of total energy intake, after which soleus and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles were used to estimate muscle growth. In the acute administration experiment, we injected CAS, ALB, and EWP to rats by oral gavage (0.3 g protein/100 g BW), and after 1 or 3 h EDL muscle was excised for capillary electrophoresis-MS–based metabolomics. In another chronic feeding experiment, rats were pair-fed either CAS or a CAS diet supplemented with arginine to the same level as in the EWP diet for 14 d.

At the end of the 14-d feeding, soleus and EDL muscle weight was 20% and 17% higher, respectively, when rats were fed EWP as compared with CAS (P < 0.05). In addition, the 14-d EWP diet increased the expression of p70S6K by 117% compared with CAS (P < 0.05). These results suggest the possibility that some amino acids (excluding leucine), derived from EWP, promote muscle growth. Metabolomics analysis showed that muscle arginine concentration, following acute protein administration, appeared to match muscle growth over the 14-d feeding period. In addition, 14-d arginine supplementation to a CAS diet increased EDL muscle weight by 15% when compared with the plain CAS diet (P < 0.05).

EWP promotes rat developmental muscle growth compared with CAS, which can be partly explained by the arginine-rich EWP.


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