A ketogenic diet impairs energy and glucose homeostasis by the attenuation of hypothalamic leptin signaling and hepatic insulin signaling in a rat model of non-obese type 2 diabetes

Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2011 Feb;236(2):194-204. doi: 10.1258/ebm.2010.010186.


Ketogenic diets (KTD) are reported to have beneficial effects on the regulation of energy and glucose homeostasis, but remain controversial. We investigated the effects of KTD and ketones on insulin resistance and secretion in non-obese type 2 diabetic rats and their mechanism. KTD (82% energy as fat), intraperitoneal injection of β-hydroxybutyrate (IHB; 150 mg/kg bw/12 h) with a control diet (COD; 20% energy as fat) or saline injection with COD was given to 90% pancreatectomized (Px) diabetic rats for five weeks. KTD increased epididymal fat pads and serum leptin levels without increasing energy intake, but IHB decreased them. KTD, but not IHB, attenuated hypothalamic signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 and 5'-adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylation in KTD. Serum glucagon levels were markedly higher in the KTD group than in other groups. During an oral glucose tolerance test, serum glucose levels slowly increased until 80 min in the KTD group and then decreased very slowly. Insulin secretion capacity during a hyperglycemic clamp was significantly lower in the IHB group than in other groups. However, a euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp revealed that KTD decreased glucose infusion rates and increased hepatic glucose output in hyperinsulinemic states while IHB had opposite effects to KTD. The increased hepatic glucose output in KTD was associated with increased hepatic phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase expression through attenuated tyrosine phosphorylation of IRS2 and phosphorylation of Akt(Ser473). Hepatic AMPK(Thr172) phosphorylation was reduced in KTD. In conclusion, KTD impairs energy and glucose homeostasis by exacerbating insulin resistance and attenuating hypothalamic leptin signaling in non-obese type 2 diabetic rats. These changes are not associated with increased serum ketone levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
  • Diet, Ketogenic*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Homeostasis*
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Leptin / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • Glucose