, Volume 36, Issue 8, pp 1566-1573,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 03 May 2011

[2,4-13 C]β-hydroxybutyrate Metabolism in Astrocytes and C6 Glioblastoma Cells


This study was undertaken to determine if the ketogenic diet could be useful for glioblastoma patients. The hypothesis tested was whether glioblastoma cells can metabolize ketone bodies. Cerebellar astrocytes and C6 glioblastoma cells were incubated in glutamine and serum free medium containing [2,4-13C]β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) with and without glucose. Furthermore, C6 cells were incubated with [1-13C]glucose in the presence and absence of BHB. Cell extracts were analyzed by mass spectrometry and media by 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy and HPLC. Using [2,4-13C]BHB and [1-13C]glucose it could be shown that C6 cells, in analogy to astrocytes, had efficient mitochondrial activity, evidenced by 13C labeling of glutamate, glutamine and aspartate. However, in the presence of glucose, astrocytes were able to produce and release glutamine, whereas this was not accomplished by the C6 cells, suggesting lack of anaplerosis in the latter. We hypothesize that glioblastoma cells kill neurons by not supplying the necessary glutamine, and by releasing glutamate.