Rapid intravenous sodium acetoacetate infusion in man. Metabolic and kinetic responses

J Clin Invest. 1973 Oct;52(10):2606-16. doi: 10.1172/JCI107453.


The metabolic and kinetic responses to rapidly intravenously administered sodium acetoacetate (1.0 mmol/kg body wt) was studied after an overnight fast in 12 male and female adults weighing between 88 and 215% of average body weight. Blood was obtained before, during, and after the infusion for determination of circulating concentrations of immunoreactive insulin, glucose, acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate and free fatty acids. In three obese subjects the studies were repeated after 3 and 24 days of total starvation. After the overnight fast acetoacetate rose rapidly reaching a peak concentration at the end of the infusion; beta-hydroxybutyrate concentrations also increased rapidly and exceeded those of acetoacetate 10 min postinfusion. Total ketone body concentration at the end of the infusion period was comparable to that found after prolonged starvation. After the initial mixing period, acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate and total ketone bodies rapidly declined in a parallel manner. There were no obvious differences between the subjects with regard to their blood concentrations of ketone bodies. The mean plasma free fatty acid concentration decreased significantly during the 20th to 90th min postinfusion period; for example the control concentration of 0.61 mmol/liter fell to 0.43 mmol/liter at 60 min. In the three obese subjects studied repeatedly, fasting plasma free fatty acids decreased with acetoacetate infusion from 0.92 to 0.46 mmol/liter after the 3 day fast and from 1.49 to 0.71 mmol/liter after the 24 day fast. Acetoacetate infusion caused no changes in blood glucose concentration after an overnight fast. However, in the three obese subjects restudied after 3- and 24-day fasts blood glucose decreased, respectively, from 3.49 to 3.22 mmol/liter and from 4.07 to 3.49 mmol/liter. The mean serum insulin concentration in all subjects significantly increased from 21 to 46 muU/ml at the completion of the infusion and rapidly declined. In the three obese subjects restudied after 3- and 24-day fasts an approximate two-fold increase of serum insulin was observed after each acetoacetate infusion. The mean fractional utilization rate of exogenously derived ketone bodies for all 12 subjects after an overnight fast was 2.9% min(-1). In the three obese subjects studied after an overnight, 3 and 24 day fast the mean fractional utilization rates were 2.1%, 1.5%, and 0.6% min(-1), respectively. Ketone body volumes of distribution in the overnight fasted subjected varied from about 18% to 31% of body wt, suggesting that ketone bodies are not homogenously distributed in the body water. In the three obese subjects restudied after 3- and 24-day fasts volumes of distribution remained approximately constant. When total ketone body concentrations in the blood were below 2.0 mmol/liter, there was a linear relationship between ketone body utilization rates and ketone body concentrations; no correlation was found when blood concentrations were higher.

MeSH terms

  • Acetoacetates / administration & dosage
  • Acetoacetates / blood
  • Acetoacetates / pharmacology*
  • Adult
  • Antigens
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxybutyrates / blood
  • Infusions, Parenteral
  • Insulin / blood
  • Ketone Bodies / blood
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Starvation
  • Time Factors


  • Acetoacetates
  • Antigens
  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Hydroxybutyrates
  • Insulin
  • Ketone Bodies