Background: The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing worldwide, accounting for 85-95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Clinical trials provide evidence of benefits of low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets in terms of clinical outcomes on type 2 diabetes patients. However, the molecular events responsible for these improvements still remain unclear in spite of the high amount of knowledge on the primary mechanisms of both the diabetes and the metabolic state of ketosis. Molecular network analysis of conditions, diseases and treatments might provide new insights and help build a better understanding of clinical, metabolic and molecular relationships among physiological conditions. Accordingly, our aim is to reveal such a relationship between a ketogenic diet and type 2 diabetes through systems biology approaches.
Methods: Our systemic approach is based on the creation and analyses of the cell networks representing the metabolic state in a very-low-carbohydrate low-fat ketogenic diet. This global view might help identify unnoticed relationships often overlooked in molecule or process-centered studies.
Results: A strong relationship between the insulin resistance pathway and the ketosis main pathway was identified, providing a possible explanation for the improvement observed in clinical trials. Moreover, the map analyses permit the formulation of some hypothesis on functional relationships between the molecules involved in type 2 diabetes and induced ketosis, suggesting, for instance, a direct implication of glucose transporters or inflammatory processes. The molecular network analysis performed in the ketogenic-diet map, from the diabetes perspective, has provided insights on the potential mechanism of action, but also has opened new possibilities to study the applications of the ketogenic diet in other situations such as CNS or other metabolic dysfunctions.