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We tested the hypothesis that skeletal muscle ubiquitin–proteasome-dependent proteolysis is dysregulated in ageing in response to feeding. In Experiment 1 we measured rates of proteasome-dependent proteolysis in incubated muscles from 8- and 22-month-old rats, proteasome activities, and rates of ubiquitination, in the postprandial and postabsorptive states. Peptidase activities of the proteasome decreased in the postabsorptive state in 22-month-old rats compared with 8-month-old animals, while the rate of ubiquitination was not altered. Furthermore, the down-regulation of in vitro proteasome-dependent proteolysis that prevailed in the postprandial state in 8-month-old rats was defective in 22-month-old rats. Next, we tested the hypothesis that the ingestion of a 5% leucine-supplemented diet may correct this defect. Leucine supplementation restored the postprandial inhibition of in vitro proteasome-dependent proteolysis in 22-month-old animals, by down-regulating both rates of ubiquitination and proteasome activities. In Experiment 2, we verified that dietary leucine supplementation had long-lasting effects by comparing 8- and 22-month-old rats that were fed either a leucine-supplemented diet or an alanine-supplemented diet for 10 days. The inhibited in vitro proteolysis was maintained in the postprandial state in the 22-month-old rats fed the leucine-supplemented diet. Moreover, elevated mRNA levels for ubiquitin, 14-kDa ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme E2, and C2 and X subunits of the 20S proteasome that were characteristic of aged muscle were totally suppressed in 22-month-old animals chronically fed the leucine-supplemented diet, demonstrating an in vivo effect. Thus the defective postprandial down-regulation of in vitro proteasome-dependent proteolysis in 22-month-old rats was restored in animals chronically fed a leucine-supplemented diet.