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Brain Res. 2003 Jan 10;959(2):206-13.

The effect of the 'classic' ketogenic diet on animal seizure models.

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Department of Pharmacology, 1 King's College Circle, Medical Sciences Building, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont, Canada M5S 1A8.


Bough et al. have recently demonstrated anticonvulsant effects of the 'classic' ketogenic diet (KD) in the pentylenetetrazol infusion model in rats. Proconvulsant effects were seen, however, when the 'classic' diet was tested against maximal electroshock (MES) seizures. These differing results may reflect the fact that the two models involve different kinds of epileptogenic stimulus, or, as Bough et al. note that the two tests involve different stimulation paradigms. The pentylenetetrazol infusion paradigm is a threshold test, whereas the MES test employs a stimulus which is well above threshold. The present experiments were designed to test the effects of the 'classic' KD against seizures triggered in rats by both threshold and suprathreshold levels of electricity and pentylenetetrazol. The threshold tests employed were the pentylenetetrazol infusion test, and the threshold electroconvulsive shock (ECS) test. The subcutaneous pentylenetetrazol (scMET) test was also included, since it is sometimes considered to be a 'threshold' test. The suprathreshold tests employed were the maximal pentylenetetrazol test (MMT) and the maximal electroshock test (MES). The KD failed to suppress seizures in either of the tests involving suprathreshold stimulation (MMT and MES), although there was a significant increase in latency in the MMT test. Small but significant threshold elevations (15-20%) were seen, however, in both the pentylenetetrazol infusion test and the ECS threshold test. No seizure suppression was seen in the scMET test, which actually employs a suprasthreshold stimulus. These data indicate that the KD has significant anticonvulsant effects against both chemically and electrically triggered seizures, but that they consist of small elevations in threshold which will be seen only when threshold measures are used.

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