This study was conducted to determine whether an amino acid solution enriched with branched-chain amino acids altered protein catabolic rates and plasma ammonia in patients with cirrhosis. Nine stable subjects were given two peripheral intravenous infusions: a standard amino acid solution (solution A) and a branched-chain-enriched solution containing 97% more leucine (solution B). Each solution was given for separate 9-day (group 1, n = 6) or 3-day (group 2, n = 3) periods. Amino acid solutions delivered 0.7 gm protein kg−1 day−1. Diets provided an additional 0.3 gm protein plus maintenance calories. Protein turnover was assessed by a primed continuous infusion of [1-14C] leucine in six patients (three patients in group 1 and three patients in group 2). Nitrogen balance and urinary 3-methyl histidine excretion were determined in group 1 patients. Compared with solution A, solution B increased leucine flux and leucine oxidation but had no significant effect on protein synthesis or catabolism based on the plasma specific activity of either leucine or α-ketoisocaproic acid. The additional leucine infused with solution B was quantitatively oxidized. Nitrogen balance did not differ with the two solutions and there was also no difference in the urinary excretion of 3-methyl histidine, suggesting that muscle protein catabolism was unchanged. Plasma ammonia concentration decreased significantly during the infusion of solution B and was associated with a slight fall in plasma glucagon concentration. The results indicated that a branched-chain-enriched amino acid solution did not alter protein synthesis or catabolism although it did lower the plasma ammonia when compared with a standard amino acid formula in stable cirrhotic patients.(HEPATOLOGY 1990;11:942-950.).