The ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate (βOHB) is a convenient carrier of energy from adipocytes to peripheral tissues during fasting or exercise. However, βOHB is more than just a metabolite, having important cellular signaling roles as well. βOHB is an endogenous inhibitor of histone deacetylases (HDACs) and a ligand for at least two cell surface receptors. In addition, the downstream products of βOHB metabolism including acetyl-CoA, succinyl-CoA, and NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) themselves have signaling activities. These regulatory functions of βOHB serve to link the outside environment to cellular function and gene expression, and have important implications for the pathogenesis and treatment of metabolic diseases including type 2 diabetes.
Keywords: Acetylation; Epigenetics; HDAC; Ketone bodies; Low carbohydrate.
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