• Epilepsy;
  • Energy metabolism;
  • Idiopathic;
  • Ketones;
  • Multifactorial;
  • Genetic;
  • Ketogenic diet;
  • Glycolysis;
  • Seizures

Summary:  Purpose: Caloric restriction (CR) involves underfeeding and has long been recognized as a dietary therapy that improves health and increases longevity. In contrast to severe fasting or starvation, CR reduces total food intake without causing nutritional deficiencies. Although fasting has been recognized as an effective antiseizure therapy since the time of the ancient Greeks, the mechanism by which fasting inhibits seizures remains obscure. The influence of CR on seizure susceptibility was investigated at both juvenile (30 days) and adult (70 days) ages in the EL mouse, a genetic model of multifactorial idiopathic epilepsy.

Methods: The juvenile EL mice were separated into two groups and fed standard lab chow either ad libitum (control, n = 18) or with a 15% CR diet (treated, n = 17). The adult EL mice were separated into three groups; control (n = 15), 15% CR (n = 6), and 30% CR (n = 3). Body weights, seizure susceptibility, and the levels of blood glucose and ketones (β-hydroxybutyrate) were measured over a 10-week treatment period. Simple linear regression and multiple logistic regression were used to analyze the relations among seizures, glucose, and ketones.

Results: CR delayed the onset and reduced the incidence of seizures at both juvenile and adult ages and was devoid of adverse side effects. Furthermore, mild CR (15%) had a greater antiepileptogenic effect than the well-established high-fat ketogenic diet in the juvenile mice. The CR-induced changes in blood glucose levels were predictive of both blood ketone levels and seizure susceptibility.

Conclusions: We propose that CR may reduce seizure susceptibility in EL mice by reducing brain glycolytic energy. Our preclinical findings suggest that CR may be an effective antiseizure dietary therapy for human seizure disorders.