Ketone bodies β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) and acetoacetate are important metabolic substrates for energy production during prolonged fasting. However, BHB also has signaling functions. Through several metabolic pathways or processes, BHB modulates nutrient utilization and energy expenditure. These findings suggest that BHB is not solely a metabolic intermediate, but also acts as a signal to regulate metabolism and maintain energy homeostasis during nutrient deprivation. We briefly summarize the metabolism and emerging physiological functions of ketone bodies and highlight the potential role for BHB as a signaling molecule in starvation response.
Keywords: Autophagy; Energy expenditure; Signaling; Starvation; β-Hydroxybutyrate.
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