The ketogenic diet inhibits the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway

Epilepsia. 2011 Mar;52(3):e7-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2011.02981.x. Epub 2011 Mar 3.


The ketogenic diet (KD) is an effective treatment for epilepsy, but its mechanisms of action are poorly understood. We investigated the hypothesis that the KD inhibits mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway signaling. The expression of pS6 and pAkt, markers of mTOR pathway activation, was reduced in hippocampus and liver of rats fed KD. In the kainate model of epilepsy, KD blocked the hippocampal pS6 elevation that occurs after status epilepticus. Because mTOR signaling has been implicated in epileptogenesis, these results suggest that the KD may have anticonvulsant or antiepileptogenic actions via mTOR pathway inhibition.

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases
  • Animals
  • Diet, Ketogenic
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epilepsy / diet therapy*
  • Epilepsy / genetics*
  • Epilepsy / pathology
  • Gene Expression / genetics
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Liver / pathology
  • Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Status Epilepticus / genetics
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics*


  • Protein Kinases
  • mTOR protein, rat
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases