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Neurochem Int. 1991;18(1):85-8.

Ketone bodies as precursors for lipid synthesis in neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendroglia (myelin) in hyperthyroidism, hyperketonemia and hypoketonemia.

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The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, U.S.A.


Ketone bodies serve as a source of energy and as precursors for lipid synthesis in developing brain. Neurons, astrocytes and oligodendroglia all have the necessary enzymes for metabolizing ketone bodies. In this in vivo study it was found that all three cell types were able to use ketone bodies as precursors for the synthesis of lipids with the fatty acids of phosphatidylcholine exhibiting the highest level of synthesis, followed by cholesterol and then the fatty acids of phosphatidylethanolamine. The conditions of hypoketonemia and hyperketonemia do not result in significant changes from control values, suggesting an exquisite balance between the use of glucose and ketone bodies in developing brain. There was an increase in cerebroside synthesis during the period of active myelination which appeared to have an earlier onset in the hyperthyroid animal. Thus ketone body usage as precursors for lipid synthesis is important during brain development.


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