Ketogenic diet prevents cardiac arrest-induced cerebral ischemic neurodegeneration

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2008 Jul;115(7):1011-7. doi: 10.1007/s00702-008-0050-7. Epub 2008 May 14.


Ketogenic diet (KD) is an effective treatment for intractable epilepsies. We recently found that KD can prevent seizure and myoclonic jerk in a rat model of post-hypoxic myoclonus. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that KD can prevent the cerebral ischemic neurodegeneration in this animal model. Rats fed a standard diet or KD for 25 days were being subjected to mechanically induced cardiac arrest brain ischemia for 8 min 30 s. Nine days after cardiac arrest, frozen rat brains were sectioned for evaluation of ischemia-induced neurodegeneration using fluoro-jade (FJ) staining. The FJ positive degenerating neurons were counted manually. Cardiac arrest-induced cerebral ischemia in rats fed the standard diet exhibited extensive neurodegeneration in the CA1 region of the hippocampus, the number of FJ positive neurons was 822+/-80 (n=4). They also showed signs of neurodegeneration in the Purkinje cells of the cerebellum and in the thalamic reticular nucleus, the number of FJ positive neurons in the cerebellum was 55+/-27 (n=4), the number of FJ positive neurons in the thalamic reticular nucleus was 22+/-5 (n=4). In contrast, rats fed KD showed no evidence of neurodegeneration, the number of FJ positive neurons in these areas were zero. The results demonstrate that KD can prevent cardiac arrest-induced cerebral ischemic neurodegeneration in selected brain regions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Ischemia / complications*
  • Brain Ischemia / etiology
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Fluoresceins
  • Heart Arrest / complications
  • Male
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / etiology*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / pathology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Organic Chemicals
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fluoresceins
  • Organic Chemicals
  • fluoro jade