• food intake;
  • blood amino acids;
  • intramuscular fat;
  • arginase;
  • mRNA


Dietary lysine restriction may differentially affect body growth and lipid and nitrogen metabolism, depending on the degree of lysine restriction. This study was conducted to examine the effect of dietary lysine restriction on growth and lipid and nitrogen metabolism with two different degree of lysine restriction. Isocaloric amino acid–defined diets containing 1.4% lysine (adequate), 0.70% lysine (50% moderate lysine restriction) and 0.35% lysine (75% severe lysine restriction) were fed from the age of 52 to 77 days for 25 days in male Sprague–Dawley rats. The 75% severe lysine restriction increased (p < 0.05) food intake, but retarded (p < 0.05) growth, increased (p < 0.05) liver and muscle lipid contents and abdominal fat accumulation, increased (p < 0.05) blood urea nitrogen levels and mRNA levels of the serine-synthesizing 3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase gene, but decreased (p < 0.05) urea cycle arginase gene mRNA levels. In contrast, the 50% lysine restriction did not significantly (p > 0.05) affect body growth and lipid and nitrogen metabolism. Our results demonstrate that severe 75% lysine restriction has detrimental effects on body growth and deregulate lipid and nitrogen metabolism.