We examined the effects of a combined, local intra-arterial infusion of growth hormone (GH) and insulin on forearm glucose and protein metabolism in seven normal adults. GH was infused into the brachial artery for 6 h with a dose that, in a previous study, stimulated muscle protein synthesis (phenylalanine Rd) without affecting systemic GH, insulin, or insulinlike growth factor I concentrations. For the last 3 h of the GH infusion, insulin was coinfused with a dose that, in the absence of infused GH, suppressed forearm muscle proteolysis by 30–40% without affecting systemic insulin levels. Measurements of forearm glucose, amino acid balance, and [3H]phenylalanine and [14C]leucine kinetics were made at 3 and 6 h of the infusion. Glucose uptake by forearm tissues in response to GH and insulin did not change significantly between 3 and 6 h. By 6 h, the combined infusion of GH and insulin promoted a significantly more positive net balance of phenylalanine, leucine, isoleucine, and valine (all P < 0.05). The change in net phenylalanine balance was due to a significant increase in phenylalanine Rd (51%, P < 0.05) with no observable change in phenylalanine Ra. For leucine, a stimulation of leucine Rd (50%, P < 0.05) also accounted for the change in leucine net balance, with no suppression of leucine Ra. The stimulation of Rd, in the absence of an observed effect on Ra, suggests that GH blunts the action of insulin to suppress proteolysis in addition to blunting insulin's action on Rd.

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