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Beta-hydroxybutyrate alters GABA-transaminase activity in cultured astrocytes

Beta-hydroxybutyrate alters GABA-transaminase activity in cultured astrocytes

Brain Research 1268: 17-23

The ketogenic diet has long been recognized as an effective treatment for medically refractory epilepsy. Despite nearly a century of use, the mechanisms underlying its clinical efficacy remain unknown. One of the proposed hypotheses for its anti-epileptic actions involves increased GABA concentration in the brain due to ketone bodies that become elevated with a ketogenic diet. In recent years, the notion that astrocytes could play a role in the evolution of abnormal cortical excitability in chronic neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, has received renewed attention. The present study examined the effects of beta-hydroxybutyrate, a ketone body, on GABA metabolism in rat primary cultured astrocytes. When beta-hydroxybutyrate was added to culture medium, GABA-transaminase (GABA-T) mRNA expression was significantly suppressed in time- and dose-dependent manners. GABA-T enzymatic activity in beta-hydroxybutyrate-treated astrocytes was also suppressed, in accordance with its gene expression. These effects were evident after 3 days of culture, which might coincide with depleted intracellular glycogen. GABA transporter, GAT-1, gene expression was strongly suppressed in cultured astrocytes after 5 days of culture with beta-hydroxybutyrate, although other type of GABA transporters did not display significant changes. These results suggest that beta-hydroxybutyrate induced by ketogenic diet may increase GABA concentration in the epileptic brain by suppressing astrocytic GABA degradation, leading to antiepileptic effects.

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Accession: 051779205

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PMID: 19285044

DOI: 10.1016/j.brainres.2009.02.074

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