Energy expenditure and protein synthesis rates in an animal model of cancer cachexia

J A Plumb, K C Fearon, K B Carter, T Preston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Food intake and energy expenditure of cachectic tumour bearing mice were measured during the course of weight loss. Four weeks after implantation of the MAC-16 tumour the body weight was reduced by 20%, there was no significant reduction in food intake, and body composition analysis revealed that both body fat and protein mass were decreased. Oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production were measured over a 24h period both before and at weekly intervals after tumour implantation. There was a gradual increase in the rates of both oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production per gram body weight. Similarly, energy expenditure per gram body weight was increased during the 3rd (11%) and 4th (23%) weeks. In contrast, the food intake per gram body weight was unchanged during the first three weeks and increased by only 8% during the 4th week. Despite the development of cachexia, rates of protein synthesis in the liver, heart, kidney and skeletal muscle were the same four weeks after tumour implantation as those in non-tumour bearing mice. Thus, in this murine model of cancer cachexia a negative energy balance resulted from failure of food intake to compensate for increased energy demands. These findings point to the unique pattern of metabolic alterations which occur in different models of cancer cachexia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-9
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1991

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