Experiments designed to test the hypothesis that intracellular creatine level regulates the synthesis of muscle specific proteins have failed to demonstrate any creatine regulatory effect. Manipulation of the extracellular creatine in culture medium over a 5,700-fold range (1.3-7.4 mM) was successful in altering intracellular total creatine by only a factor of 20 (1.4-42 mg creatine/mg protein), an indication that muscle cells are able to regulate intracellular creatine levels over a wide range of external creatine concentrations. Alterations of cell creatine had no effect on either total protein synthesis or synthesis of myosin heavy chain. Methods were perfected to measure total creatine, and incorporation of [3H]leucine into total protein and purified myosin heavy chain from the same culture dish to avoid the possibility of variation between dishes. The creatine analog 1-carboxymethyl-2-iminohexahydropyrimidine (CMIP) previously reported to stimulate myosin synthesis in culture was found to depress creatine accumulation by cells and depressed total protein synthesis and synthesis of myosin heavy chain. This inhibitory action of CMIP is consistent with the reported competitive inhibition of creatine kinase and presumed interference with energy metabolism.

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