Nasogastric bolus administration of a protein-rich drink augments insulinaemia and aminoacidaemia but not whole-body protein turnover or muscle protein synthesis versus oral administration

Pavis, George; Abdelrahman, Doaa; Murton, Andrew; Wall, Benjamin; Stephens, Franci; Dirks, Marlou


Nasogastric feeding of protein-rich liquids is a nutritional support therapy that attenuates muscle mass loss. However, whether administration via a nasogastric tube per se augments whole-body or muscle protein anabolism compared with oral administration is unknown. Healthy participants were administered a protein-rich drink (225 ml containing 21 g protein) orally (ORAL; n=13; age 21 + 1 year; BMI 22.2 + 0.6 kg · m−2) or via a nasogastric tube (NG; n=13; age 21 + 1 yr; BMI 23.9 + 0.9 kg · m−2) in a parallel group design, balanced for sex. L-[ring-2H5]-phenylalanine and L-[3,3-2H2]-tyrosine were infused to measure postabsorptive and postprandial whole-body protein turnover. Skeletal muscle biopsies were collected at −120, 0, 120 and 300 min relative to drink administration to quantify temporal myofibrillar fractional synthetic rates (myoFSR). Drink administration increased serum insulin and plasma amino acid concentrations, and to a greater extent and duration in NG versus ORAL (all interactions P<0.05). Drink administration increased whole-body protein synthesis (P<0.01), suppressed protein breakdown (P<0.001), and created positive net protein balance (P<0.001), but to a similar degree in ORAL and NG (interactions P>0.05). Drink administration increased myoFSR from the postabsorptive state (P<0.01), regardless of route of administration in ORAL and in NG (interaction P>0.05). Nasogastric bolus administration of a protein-rich drink induces insulinaemia and aminoacidaemia to a greater extent than oral administration, but the postprandial increase in whole-body protein turnover and muscle protein synthesis was equivalent between administration routes. Nasogastric administration is a potent intervention to increase postprandial amino acid availability. Future work should assess its utility in overcoming impaired sensitivity to protein feeding, such as that seen in ageing, disuse, and critical care.