Ketogenic diet reduces hypoglycemia-induced neuronal death in young rats

Neurosci Lett. 2005 Sep 16;385(3):210-4. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2005.05.038.


Hypoglycemia is an important complication of insulin treatment in diabetic children and may contribute to lasting cognitive impairment. Previous studies demonstrated that 21-day-old rats (P21) subjected to brief, repetitive episodes of hypoglycemia sustain cortical neuronal death. The developing brain is capable of utilizing alternative energy substrates acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate. In these studies we tested the hypothesis that the developing brain adapted to ketone utilization and provided with ketones during hypoglycemia by eating a ketogenic diet would sustain less brain injury compared to littermates fed a standard diet. Supporting this hypothesis, P21 rats weaned to a ketogenic diet and subjected to insulin-induced hypoglycemia at P25 had significantly less neuronal death than rats on a standard diet. This animal model may provide insight into the determinants influencing the brain's susceptibility to hypoglycemic injury.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cell Death / drug effects*
  • Diet
  • Hypoglycemia / chemically induced
  • Hypoglycemia / diet therapy*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / toxicity
  • Insulin / toxicity
  • Ketones / therapeutic use*
  • Minocycline / pharmacology
  • Neurons / pathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Ketones
  • Minocycline