To determine whether the decrease in hepatic T3 nuclear receptors in rats bearing the Walker 256 carcinoma (T rats) is a consequence of nonthyroidal disease or related to a generalized decrease in hepatic protein synthesis, we measured hepatic T3 nuclear receptors and [3H]leucine incorporation into protein in control and T rats. Mean protein contents of liver homogenate, purified nuclei, 0.4 M NaCl extracts of nuclei, and nonhistone protein fractions were similar in control and T rats. In pooled data from three experiments, [3H]leucine incorporation into protein in these liver fractions was significantly increased (55-73%) in T rats. Since the precursor nonradioactive leucine pool, measured by a novel HPLC method, was similar in control and T rats, the increased incorporation of [3H] leucine in all liver fractions suggests an increase in protein synthesis in T rats. Additional measurements in the same rats (two experiments) indicated that hepatic nuclear receptors were decreased to 50% of the control value in T rats (P< 0.001). Our findings suggest that in the Walker tumor model of nonthyroidal disease, decreased hepatic nuclear T3 receptors appears relatively specific and is not associated with a generalized decrease in hepatic protein synthesis.
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