Neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory activities of ketogenic diet on MPTP-induced neurotoxicity

J Mol Neurosci. 2010 Oct;42(2):145-53. doi: 10.1007/s12031-010-9336-y. Epub 2010 Mar 24.


Ketogenic diet (KD) is a high-fat, low-protein and low-carbohydrate diet. It is reported that KD can provide the neuroprotection for the neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease (PD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The main clinical symptom of PD is motor dysfunction derived from the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra (SN) and dopamine content in the striatum subsequently. It is well known that treatments with 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) in mice produce motor dysfunction, biochemical, and neurochemical changes remarkably similar to idiopathic PD patients. In this study, we investigated the neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects of KD in MPTP-treated mice. The data showed that pretreatment with KD alleviated the motor dysfunction induced by MPTP. The decrease of Nissl-staining and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive neurons induced by MPTP was inhibited in the SN. The change of dopamine was very similar to dopaminergic neurons in the SN. KD inhibited the activation of microglia induced by MPTP in the SN. The levels of proinflammatory cytokines (interleukin-1 beta, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha) in the SN were also decreased and induced by MPTP. So, we concluded that KD was neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory against MPTP-neurotoxicity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology*
  • Diet, Ketogenic / methods*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • MPTP Poisoning / diet therapy*
  • MPTP Poisoning / immunology
  • MPTP Poisoning / pathology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microglia / immunology
  • Microglia / pathology
  • Movement Disorders / diet therapy
  • Movement Disorders / immunology
  • Movement Disorders / pathology
  • Neurons / immunology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Dopamine