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Appetite. 2010 Jun;54(3):450-5. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2010.04.005. Epub 2010 Apr 21.

Role of beta-hydroxybutyric acid in the central regulation of energy balance.

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Research Unit Nutritional Physiology "Oskar Kellner", Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN), Wilhelm-Stahl-Allee 2, 18196 Dummerstorf, Germany.


Although the phenomenon of beta-hydroxybutyric acid (BHBA) impact on satiety and thermogenesis has been described in the past decades, the underlying molecular mechanisms involved remain unresolved. Other metabolites such as glucose, fatty or branched chain amino acids are known to activate the AMP kinase pathway leading to an increase of anorexic and a decrease of orexigenic neuropeptides in the hypothalamus, one of the central regulators of energy homeostasis. Since BHBA is utilized as an energy source by the brain particularly in suckling newborns and under starving conditions, it is supposed to be a further central signal and energy providing substrate involved in the regulation of food intake. Moreover, BHBA might present a therapeutic approach for treating neuronal diseases because of its neuroprotective properties. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to summarize the known central effects of BHBA and to point out the importance of the identification of cellular pathways triggered in response to BHBA.

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