Intragastric administration of leucine or isoleucine lowers the blood glucose response to a mixed-nutrient drink by different mechanisms in healthy, lean volunteers

Sina S. Ullrich, Penelope C.E. Fitzgerald, Gudrun Schober, Robert E. Steinert, Michael C. Horowitz, Feinle Bisset Christine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The branched-chain amino acids leucine and isoleucine lower blood glucose after oral glucose ingestion, and the intraduodenal infusion of leucine decreases energy intake in healthy, lean men. Objective: We investigated the effects of the intragastric administration of leucine and isoleucine on the gastric emptying of, and blood glucose responses to, a physiologic mixed-macronutrient drink and subsequent energy intake. Design: In 2 separate studies, 12 healthy, lean subjects received on 3 separate occasions an intragastric infusion of 5 g leucine (leucine-5g) or an intragastric infusion of 10 g leucine (leucine-10g), an intragastric infusion of 5 g isoleucine (isoleucine-5g) or an intragastric infusion of 10 g isoleucine (isoleucine-10g), or a control. Fifteen minutes later, subjects consumed a mixed-nutrient drink (400 kcal, 56 g carbohydrates, 15 g protein, and 12 g fat), and gastric emptying (13C-acetate breath test) and blood glucose, plasma insulin, C-peptide, glucagon, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), and cholecystokinin (leucine study only) were measured for 60 min. Immediately afterward, energy intake from a cold, buffet-style meal was assessed. Results: Compared with the control, leucine-10g decreased the blood glucose area under the curve (AUC) (P , 0.05) and tended to reduce peak blood glucose (P = 0.07), whereas effects of leucine-5g were NS. Leucine-10g, but not leucine-5g, increased plasma insulin and C-peptide AUCs (P , 0.01 for both), but neither dose affected glucagon, GLP-1, GIP, cholecystokinin, gastric emptying, or energy intake. Compared with the control, isoleucine-10g reduced the blood glucose AUC and peak blood glucose (P , 0.01), whereas effects of isoleucine-5g were NS. Neither load affected insulin, C-peptide, glucagon, GLP-1, or GIP. Isoleucine-10g, but not isoleucine-5g, slowed gastric emptying (P , 0.05), but gastric emptying was not correlated with the blood glucose AUC. Isoleucine did not affect energy intake. Conclusions: In healthy subjects, both leucine and isoleucine reduced blood glucose in response to a mixed-nutrient drink but did not affect subsequent energy intake. The mechanisms underlying glucose lowering appear to differ; leucine stimulated insulin, whereas isoleucine acted insulin independently.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1274-1284
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Branched-chain amino acids
  • Energy intake
  • Food intake
  • Gastric emptying
  • GIP
  • GLP-1
  • Glucagon
  • Gut hormones
  • Humans
  • Insulin


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