Aims/Introduction: Glucagon is secreted from pancreatic α-cells and plays an important role in amino acid metabolism in liver. Various animal models deficient in glucagon action show hyper-amino acidemia and α-cell hyperplasia, indicating that glucagon contributes to feedback regulation between the liver and the α-cells. In addition, both insulin and various amino acids, including branched-chain amino acids and alanine, participate in protein synthesis in skeletal muscle. However, the effect of hyperaminoacidemia on skeletal muscle has not been investigated. In the present study, we examined the effect of blockade of glucagon action on skeletal muscle using mice deficient in proglucagon-derived peptides (GCGKO mice). Materials and Methods: Muscles isolated from GCGKO and control mice were analyzed for their morphology, gene expression and metabolites. Results: GCGKO mice showed muscle fiber hypertrophy, and a decreased ratio of type IIA and an increased ratio of type IIB fibers in the tibialis anterior. The expression levels of myosin heavy chain (Myh) 7, 2, 1 and myoglobin messenger ribonucleic acid were significantly lower in GCGKO mice than those in control mice in the tibialis anterior. GCGKO mice showed a significantly higher concentration of arginine, asparagine, serine and threonine in the quadriceps femoris muscles, and also alanine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamine, glycine and lysine, as well as four amino acids in gastrocnemius muscles. Conclusions: These results show that hyperaminoacidemia induced by blockade of glucagon action in mice increases skeletal muscle weight and stimulates slow-to-fast transition in type II fibers of skeletal muscle, mimicking the phenotype of a high-protein diet.
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