Acetoacetate, acetone, and dibenzylamine (a contaminant in l-(+)-beta-hydroxybutyrate) exhibit direct anticonvulsant actions in vivo

Epilepsia. 2002 Apr;43(4):358-61. doi: 10.1046/j.1528-1157.2002.47901.x.


Purpose: To investigate whether ketone bodies are directly anticonvulsant.

Methods: We tested the effects of acetoacetate (ACA), acetone, and both stereoisomers, D-(-)- and L-(+), of beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) on sensory-evoked seizures in Frings audiogenic seizure-susceptible mice.

Results: We found that these ketone bodies, with the exception of the D-(-)-isomer of BHB, were anticonvulsant in this model. Furthermore, with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, we confirmed that the activity of L-(+)-BHB was due to dibenzylamine, a chemical contaminant.

Conclusions: Our data indicate that the anticonvulsant efficacy of the ketogenic diet may be due in part to the direct actions of ACA and acetone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 3-Hydroxybutyric Acid
  • Acetoacetates / therapeutic use*
  • Acetone / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Benzylamines / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Contamination
  • Epilepsy, Reflex / genetics
  • Epilepsy, Reflex / prevention & control*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Mice / genetics


  • Acetoacetates
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Benzylamines
  • Acetone
  • dibenzylamine
  • acetoacetic acid
  • 3-Hydroxybutyric Acid