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Epilepsy Res. 2003 Apr;54(1):41-52.

Calorie restriction of a high-carbohydrate diet elevates the threshold of PTZ-induced seizures to values equal to those seen with a ketogenic diet.

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Department of Biology, Georgetown University, Box 571229, Washington, DC 20057-1229, USA.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the contributions of ketonemia, caloric restriction, and carbohydrates to seizure protection in rats fed selected diets. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed experimental diets of two basic types, one high in carbohydrates and restricted to 90, 65, or 50% of the normal daily caloric requirement and the other a normal rodent chow diet restricted to 90 or 65% of the daily caloric requirement. After consuming their respective diets for 20 days, animals were subjected to tail-vein infusion of pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) to determine seizure threshold, taken as the dose required to evoke the first clonic reaction. Seizure thresholds were compared to those of rats fed control diets of either normal rodent chow fed ad libitum or a standard high-fat (ketogenic) diet calorie-restricted to 90% of daily caloric requirement, all animals age- and weight-matched at the time of diet onset. All diets were balanced for vitamins and minerals and contained at least 10% protein (by weight). Seizure threshold and ketonemia were elevated in both experimental diets in approximate proportion to the degree of calorie restriction. Animals fed the most severely restricted high-carbohydrate diet (50%) had seizure thresholds equal to those fed the ketogenic diet but had significantly lower ketonemia.

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