Effects of the ketogenic diet in the glucose transporter 1 deficiency syndrome

Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2004 Mar;70(3):321-7. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2003.07.004.


The ketogenic diet (KD), established to treat intractable childhood epilepsy, has emerged as the principal treatment of GLUT1 deficiency syndrome (OMIM 606777). This defect of glucose transport into the brain results in hypoglycorrhachia causing epilepsy, developmental delay, and a complex motor disorder in early childhood. Ketones provided by a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet serve as an alternative fuel to the brain. Glucose, lactate, lipids, and ketones in blood and cerebrospinal fluid were investigated in five GLUT1-deficient patients before and on the KD. Hypoglycorrhachia was detected in the non-ketotic and ketotic state. In ketosis, lactate concentrations in the cerebrospinal fluid increased moderately. The CSF/blood ratio for acetoacetate was higher compared to beta-hydroxybutyrate. Free fatty acids did not enter the brain in significant amounts. Blood concentrations of essential fatty acids determined in 18 GLUT1-deficient patients on the KD were sufficient in all age groups. The effects of the KD in GLUT1 deficiency syndrome, particularly the course of blood lipids, are discussed in an illustrative case. In this syndrome, the KD effectively restores brain energy metabolism. Ketosis does not influence impaired GLUT1-mediated glucose transport into brain: hypoglycorrhachia, the biochemical hallmark of the disease, can be identified in GLUT1-deficient patients on a KD. The effects of ketosis on the concentrations of glucose, lactate, ketones, and fatty acids in blood and cerebrospinal fluid in this entity are discussed in view of previous data on ketosis in man.

MeSH terms

  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / metabolism
  • Child
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Glucose Transporter Type 1
  • Humans
  • Ketones / metabolism*
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / deficiency*
  • Syndrome


  • Glucose Transporter Type 1
  • Ketones
  • Lipids
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
  • SLC2A1 protein, human