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We hypothesize that one mechanism of the anti-epileptic effect of the ketogenic diet is to alter brain handling of glutamate. According to this formulation, in ketotic brain astrocyte metabolism is more active, resulting in enhanced conversion of glutamate to glutamine. This allows for: (a) more efficient removal of glutamate, the most important excitatory(More)
The ketogenic diet has been utilized for many years as an adjunctive therapy in the management of epilepsy, especially in those children for whom antiepileptic drugs have not permitted complete relief. The biochemical basis of the dietary effect is unclear. One possibility is that the diet leads to alterations in the metabolism of brain amino acids, most(More)
We do not know the mode of action of the ketogenic diet in controlling epilepsy. One possibility is that the diet alters brain handling of glutamate, the major excitatory neurotransmitter and a probable factor in evoking and perpetuating a convulsion. We have found that brain metabolism of ketone bodies can furnish as much as 30% of glutamate and glutamine(More)
Glutamic acid is an important excitatory neurotransmitter of the brain. Two key goals of brain amino acid handling are to maintain a very low intrasynaptic concentration of glutamic acid and also to provide the system with precursors from which to synthesize glutamate. The intrasynaptic glutamate level must be kept low to maximize the signal-to-noise ratio(More)
The concentration of glutamate in the brain extracellular fluid must be kept low (approximately 3 microM) in order to maximize the signal-to-noise ratio upon the release of glutamate from neurons. In addition, the nerve endings require a supply of glutamate precursors that will not cause depolarization. The major precursor to neuronal glutamate is(More)
The metabolism of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) was studied in cortical synaptosomes. With [15N]leucine (1 mM) as precursor, the cumulative appearance of 15N in [15N]glutamate and [15N]aspartate was 0.2 nmol/min/mg of protein without supplemental alpha-ketoglutarate and 0.3 nmol/min/mg of protein in the presence of alpha-ketoglutarate (0.5 mM). The(More)
Stable isotopes were used to measure both the rate of GABA formation by glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) and the rate of utilization by GABA-transaminase (GABA-T). The initial rate of GABA accumulation, determined with either [2-15N]glutamine or [2H5]glutamine as precursor, was 0.3-0.4 nmol/min/mg of protein. Addition of the calcium ionophore A23187(More)
Intrasynaptic [glutamate] must be kept low in order to maximize the signal-to-noise ratio after the release of transmitter glutamate. This is accomplished by rapid uptake of glutamate into astrocytes, which convert glutamate into glutamine. The latter then is released to neurons, which, via mitochondrial glutaminase, form the glutamate that is used for(More)
The relationship between ketosis and brain amino acid metabolism was studied in mice that consumed a ketogenic diet (>90% of calories as lipid). After 3 days on the diet the blood concentration of 3-OH-butyrate was approximately 5 mmol/l (control = 0.06-0.1 mmol/l). In forebrain and cerebellum the concentration of 3-OH-butyrate was approximately 10-fold(More)