Imaging the Effects of β-Hydroxybutyrate on Peri-Infarct Neurovascular Function and Metabolism

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Abstract

Background and Purpose—

Recent evidence suggests great potential of metabolically targeted interventions for treating neurological disorders. We investigated the use of the endogenous ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) as an alternate metabolic substrate for the brain in the acute phase of ischemia because postischemic hyperglycemia and brain glucose metabolism elevation compromise functional recovery.

Methods—

We delivered BHB (or vehicle) 1 hour after ischemic insult induced by cortical microinjection of endothelin-1 in sensorimotor cortex of rats. Two days after ischemic insult, the rats underwent multimodal characterization of the BHB effects. We examined glucose uptake on 2-Deoxy-D-glucose chemical exchange saturation transfer magnetic resonance imaging, cerebral hemodynamics on continuous arterial spin labeling magnetic resonance imaging, resting-state field potentials by intracerebral multielectrode arrays, Neurological Deficit Score, reactive oxygen species production, and astrogliosis and neuronal death.

Results—

When compared with vehicle-administered animals, BHB-treated cohort showed decreased peri-infarct neuronal glucose uptake which was associated with reduced oxidative stress, diminished astrogliosis and neuronal death. Functional examination revealed ameliorated neuronal functioning, normalized perilesional resting perfusion, and ameliorated cerebrovascular reactivity to hypercapnia, suggesting improved functioning. Cellular and functional recovery of the neurogliovascular unit in the BHB-treated animals was associated with improved performance on the withdrawal test.

Conclusions—

We characterize the effects of the ketone body BHB administration at cellular and system levels after focal cortical stroke. The results demonstrate that BHB curbs the peri-infarct glucose-metabolism driven production of reactive oxygen species and astrogliosis, culminating in improved neurogliovascular and functional recovery.

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