The rate of ketone body (beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate) metabolism was measured in individual cerebral structures of fed, starved, and diabetic rats. This was done by infusing beta-[3-14C]hydroxybutyrate intravenously and measuring the incorporation of 14C into brain by quantitative autoradiography. The capacity of the brain to use ketone bodies, expressed as plasma clearance, increased in starvation and diabetes by approximately 50-60%. Plasma clearance was near maximal after 2 days starvation and was not significantly increased after 4 days starvation, 6 days of diabetes or 28 days of diabetes. In all situations the ketone bodies provided only a modest amount of fuel for brain energy metabolism; 3.2% after 2 days starvation and 6.5 and 9.9% after 6 and 28 days of diabetes. The fraction of their energy requirement which the various structures could derive from the ketone bodies differed widely. In general the telencephalon made greatest use of ketone bodies, whereas the hindbrain used least. There was no correlation between the energy requirement of structures (estimated from glucose use in fed rats) and the fraction of energy they could derive from ketone bodies.
- Copyright © 1986 the American Physiological Society