Accumulation of damaged proteins is thought to underlie many degenerative conditions, including aging, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, cataracts, and others. Over time, proteins can be irreversibly damaged by a variety of factors, such as reactive oxygen species, and without timely degradation they can accumulate and aggregate. We believe this can contribute to the development of chronic degenerative disorders. The purpose of this study is to develop a novel methodology for measuring protein accumulation and test it in two groups of people: young (18-30 years) and old (≥65 years). This methodology will require that people drink a solution of essential amino acids that includes isotopically labeled L[ring-13C6]phenylalanine. We will then collect blood and muscle samples, to isolate plasma and skeletal muscle proteins. Participants will return to the study center four more times on a weekly interval. We hypothesize that older proteins, which persisted in circulation and accumulated over time, will have a higher degree of post-translational oxidative damage than newly synthesized proteins.
Last updated: 11/07/2012