Contribution of Brain Glucose and Ketone Bodies to Oxidative Metabolism

  • Yifan Zhang
  • Youzhi Kuang
  • Joseph C. LaManna
  • Michelle A. Puchowicz
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 765)


Ketone bodies are an alternative energy substrate to glucose in brain. Under conditions of oxidative stress, we hypothesize that ketosis stabilizes glucose metabolism by partitioning glucose away from oxidative metabolism towards ketone body oxidation. In this study we assessed oxidative metabolism in ketotic rat brain using stable isotope mass spectrometry analysis. The contribution of glucose and ketone bodies to oxidative metabolism was studied in cortical brain homogenates isolated from anesthetized ketotic rats. To induce chronic ketosis, rats were fed either a ketogenic (high-fat, carbohydrate restricted) or standard rodent chow for 3 weeks and then infused intravenously with tracers of [U-13C] glucose or [U-13C] acetoacetate for 60 min. The measured percent contribution of glucose or ketone bodies to oxidative metabolism was analyzed by measuring the 13C-label incorporation into acetyl-CoA. Using mass spectrometry (gas-chromatography; GC-MS, and liquid-chromatography; LCMS) and isotopomer analysis, the fractional amount of substrate oxidation was measured as the M + 2 enrichment (%) of acetyl-CoA relative to the achieved enrichment of the infused precursors, [U-13C]glucose or [U-13C] acetoacetate. Results: the percent contribution of glucose oxidation in cortical brain in rats fed the ketogenic diet was 71.2 ± 16.8 (mean% ± SD) compared to the standard chow, 89.0 ± 14.6. Acetoacetate oxidation was significantly higher with ketosis compared to standard chow, 41.7 ± 9.4 vs. 21.9 ± 10.6. These data confer the high oxidative capacity for glucose irrespective of ketotic or non-ketotic states. With ketosis induced by 3 weeks of diet, cortical brain utilizes twice as much acetoacetate compared to non-ketosis.


Ketosis Mass spectrometry Rat cortex Stable isotopes 



The authors would like to thank the CASE MMPC, affiliated staff and faculty, for their technical assistance and helpful discussions on mass isotopomer analysis. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, R01 HL092933-01, R21 NS062048-01 and Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center, MMPC U24 DK76169.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yifan Zhang
    • 1
  • Youzhi Kuang
    • 2
  • Joseph C. LaManna
    • 2
  • Michelle A. Puchowicz
    • 3
  1. 1.Departments of Biomedical Engineering, School of MedicineCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Physiology and Biophysics, School of MedicineCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA
  3. 3.Departments of Nutrition, School of Medicine, School of MedicineCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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