Ketones suppress brain glucose consumption

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2009;645:301-6. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-85998-9_45.


The brain is dependent on glucose as a primary energy substrate, but is capable of utilizing ketones such as beta-hydroxybutyrate (beta HB) and acetoacetate (AcAc), as occurs with fasting, prolonged starvation or chronic feeding of a high fat/low carbohydrate diet (ketogenic diet). In this study, the local cerebral metabolic rate of glucose consumption (CMRglu; microM/min/100g) was calculated in the cortex and cerebellum of control and ketotic rats using Patlak analysis. Rats were imaged on a rodent PET scanner and MRI was performed on a 7-Tesla Bruker scanner for registration with the PET images. Plasma glucose and beta HB concentrations were measured and 90-minute dynamic PET scans were started simultaneously with bolus injection of 2-Deoxy-2[18F]Fluoro-D-Glucose (FDG). The blood radioactivity concentration was automatically sampled from the tail vein for 3 min following injection and manual periodic blood samples were taken. The calculated local CMRGlu decreased with increasing plasma BHB concentration in the cerebellum (CMRGlu = -4.07*[BHB] + 61.4, r2 = 0.3) and in the frontal cortex (CMRGlu = -3.93*[BHB] + 42.7, r2 = 0.5). These data indicate that, under conditions of ketosis, glucose consumption is decreased in the cortex and cerebellum by about 10% per each mM of plasma ketone bodies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Ketones / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Ketones
  • Glucose