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Keywords:

  • Ketogenic diet;
  • Calorie restriction;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Dentate gyrus;
  • β-Hydroxybutyrate

Summary: Purpose: The ketogenic diet (KD) is an effective treatment for intractable epilepsy. However, little is known about its underlying mechanisms.

Methods: In this study, in vivo extracellular field responses to angular bundle stimulation were recorded in the dentate gyrus of Sprague–Dawley rats fed one of three diets: ketogenic calorie-restricted (KCR), normal calorie-restricted (NCR), or normal ad libitum (NAL). Input/output curves and paired-pulse relations were used to assess network excitability. A maximal dentate activation (MDA) protocol was used to measure electrographic seizure threshold and duration.

Results: Animals fed calorie-restricted (CR) diets exhibited greater paired-pulse inhibition, an elevated MDA threshold, and an absence of spreading depression-like events compared with ad libitum-fed controls. In the MDA model of epileptogenesis, the rate of increase in electrographic seizure duration after repeated stimuli was markedly reduced in KCR-fed animals compared with NCR- and NAL-fed controls.

Conclusions: These data suggest that CR, by itself, can be anticonvulsant, and treatment with a KCR diet may be both anticonvulsant and antiepileptogenic.