Regional cerebral effects of ketone body infusion with 3-hydroxybutyrate in humans: Reduced glucose uptake, unchanged oxygen consumption and increased blood flow by positron emission tomography. A randomized, controlled trial.
Ketone bodies are neuroprotective in neurological disorders such as epilepsy. We randomly studied nine healthy human subjects twice-with and without continuous infusion of 3-hydroxybutyrate-to define potential underlying mechanisms, assessed regionally (parietal, occipital, temporal, cortical grey, and frontal) by PET scan. During 3-hydroxybutyrate infusions concentrations increased to 5.5±0.4 mmol/l and cerebral glucose utilisation decreased 14%, oxygen consumption remained unchanged, and cerebral blood flow increased 30%. We conclude that acute 3-hydroxybutyrate infusion reduces cerebral glucose uptake and increases cerebral blood flow in all measured brain regions, without detectable effects on cerebral oxygen uptake though oxygen extraction decreased. Increased oxygen supply concomitant with unchanged oxygen utilisation may contribute to the neuroprotective effects of ketone bodies.