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The aim of the present study was to determine whether the addition of soluble fibre in the diet affected protein metabolism in the intestinal tissues, some visceral organs and in skeletal muscle. A diet supplemented with pectin (80 g/kg) was fed to young growing rats and the effect on organ mass and protein metabolism in liver, spleen, small and large intestines and gastrocnemius muscle was monitored and compared with the control group. Protein synthesis rates were determined by measuring [13C]valine incorporation in tissue protein. In the pectin-fed rats compared with the controls, DM intake and body weight gain were reduced (9 and 20 %, respectively) as well as gastrocnemius muscle, liver and spleen weights (6, 14 and 11 %, respectively), but the intestinal tissues were increased (64 %). In the intestinal tissues all protein metabolism parameters (protein and RNA content, protein synthesis rate and translational efficiency) were increased in the pectin group. In liver the translational efficiency was also increased, whereas its protein and RNA contents were reduced in the pectin group. In gastrocnemius muscle, protein content, fractional and absolute protein synthesis rates and translational efficiency were lower in the pectin group. The stimulation of protein turnover in intestines and liver by soluble fibre such as pectins could be one of the factors that explain the decrease in muscle turnover and whole-body growth rate.
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