Chronic ketosis and cerebral metabolism

Ann Neurol. 1978 Apr;3(4):331-37. doi: 10.1002/ana.410030410.


The effects of chronic ketosis on cerebral metabolism were determined in adult rats maintained on a high-fat diet for approximately three weeks and compared to a control group of animals. The fat-fed rats had statistically significantly lower blood glucose concentrations and higher blood beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate concentrations; higher brain concentrations of bound glucose, glucose 6-phosphate, pyruvate, lactate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, citrate, alpha-ketoglutarate, alanine, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP); lower brain concentrations of fructose 1,6-diphosphate, aspartate, adenosine diphosphate (ADP), creatine, cyclic nucleotides, succinyl coenzyme A (CoA), acid-insoluble CoA, and total CoA; and similar brain concentrations of glucose, malate, calculated oxaloacetate, glutamate, glutamine, adenosine monophosphate, phosphocreatine, reduced CoA, acetyl CoA, sodium, potassium, chloride, and water content. The metabolite data in the chronically ketotic rats demonstrate an increase in the cerebral energy reserve and energy charge. These data also suggest negative modification of the enzymes phosphofructokinase, pyruvic dehydrogenase, and alpha-ketoglutaric dehydrogenase; positive modification of glycogen synthase; and possible augmentation of the hexose transport system. There was no demonstrable difference in brain pH, water content, or electrolytes in the two groups of animals. We speculate that the increased brain ATP/ADP ratio is central to most, if not all, the observed metabolic perturbations and may account for the increased neuronal stability that accompanies chronic ketosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acidosis / metabolism*
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Anticonvulsants / metabolism
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Citric Acid Cycle
  • Glucosephosphates / blood
  • Glycolysis
  • Ketone Bodies / metabolism
  • Ketosis / diet therapy
  • Ketosis / metabolism*
  • Oxaloacetates / blood
  • Rats


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Blood Glucose
  • Glucosephosphates
  • Ketone Bodies
  • Oxaloacetates
  • Adenosine Triphosphate