Oléagineux, Corps gras, Lipides (2007-05-01)

Ketogenic diet and astrocyte/neuron metabolic interactions

  • Vamecq Joseph,
  • Maurois Pierre,
  • Bac Pierre,
  • Delplanque Bernadette,
  • Pages Nicole

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 14, no. 3-4
pp. 208 – 213


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The ketogenic diet is an anticonvulsant diet enriched in fat. It provides the body with a minimal protein requirement and a restricted carbohydrate supply, the vast majority of calories (more than 80-90%) being given by fat. Though anticonvulsant activity of ketogenic diet has been well documented by a large number of experimental and clinical studies, underlying mechanisms still remain partially unclear. Astrocyte-neuron interactions, among which metabolic shuttles, may influence synaptic activity and hence anticonvulsant protection. The astrocyte-neuron metabolic shuttles may be themselves influenced by the availability in energetic substrates such as hydrates of carbon and fats. Historically, ketogenic diet had been designed to mimic changes such as ketosis occurring upon starvation, a physiological state already known to exhibit anticonvulsant protection and sometimes referred to as “water diet”. For this reason, a special attention should be paid to metabolic features shared in common by ketogenic diet and starvation and especially those features that might result in anticonvulsant protection. Compared to feeding by usual mixed diet, starvation and ketogenic diet are both characterised by increased fat, lowered glucose and aminoacid supplies to cells. The resulting impact of these changes in energetic substrates on astrocyte/neuron metabolic shuttles might have anticonvulsant and/or neuroprotective properties. This is the aim of this communication to review some important astrocyte/neuron metabolic interactions (astrocyte/neuron lactate shuttle, glutamateinduced astrocytic glycolysis activation, glutamate/glutamine cycle along with the neurovascular coupling) and the extent to which the way of their alteration by starvation and/or ketogenic diet might result in seizure and/or brain protection.