The imbalance of brain large-chain aminoacid availability in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients treated with high doses of branched-chain aminoacids

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Abstract

Following the report of an increased mortality among patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis given high daily doses of branched-chain aminoacids, we assessed the plasma concentrations of large neutral aminoacids and glutamic acid and the large neutral aminoacid brain influx in 24 amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients receiving placebo or branched-chain aminoacids (l-leucine 12 g, l-isoleucine 6 g, l-valine 6 g daily), in 15 untreated amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients and in 15 healthy volunteers. The branched-chain aminoacid plasma concentrations increased three- to six-fold in the treated group compared to the patients receiving placebo or no treatment and to the healthy controls. Plasma glutamic acid concentrations in healthy volunteers were 51.59±7.53 nmol/ml while in the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients receiving no treatment, placebo or branched-chain aminoacids were 92.33±12.15 nmol/ml, 91.21±15.86 nmol/ml and 95.08±17.96 nmol/ml respectively. The glutamic acid concentration was significantly higher (P<0.01) in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients than in healthy individuals. Plasma phenylalanine and tyrosine were lower in the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients than in healthy controls, regardless of treatment, whereas tryptophan levels were not significantly different. The branched-chain aminoacid brain influx of the treated group was 110-140% of that measured in the patients receiving placebo and in the healthy controls. The aromatic aminoacid brain influx was lower in the treated group than in the placebo group or healthy controls. An impairment of brain large neutral aminoacid availability might possible contribute to enhancing the progression of symptoms in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. © 1995.

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Bastone, A., Micheli, A., Beghi, E., & Salmona, M. (1995). The imbalance of brain large-chain aminoacid availability in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients treated with high doses of branched-chain aminoacids. Neurochemistry International, 27(6), 467–472. https://doi.org/10.1016/0197-0186(95)80004-5

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