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The present study was conducted to determine if the ketogenic diet altered basal levels of monoamineneurotransmitters in mice. The catecholamines dopamine (DA) and norephinephrine (NE) and the indolamine serotonin (5HT) were quantified postmortem in six different brain regions of adult mice fed a ketogenic diet for 3 weeks. The dopamine metabolites 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) and homovanillic acid (HVA) and the serotonin metabolite 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid (5HIAA) were also measured. Tissue punches were collected bilaterally from the motor cortex, somatosensory cortex,nucleus accumbens, anterior caudate–putamen, posterior caudate–putamen and the midbrain. Dopaminergic activity, as measured by the dopamine metabolites to dopamine content ratio – ([DOPAC] + [HVA])/[DA] – was significantly increased in the motor and somatosensory cortex regions of mice fed the ketogenic diet when compared to those same areas in brains of mice fed a normal diet. These results indicate that the ketogenic diet alters the activity of the meso-cortical dopaminergic system, which may contribute to the diet's therapeutic effect in reducing epileptic seizure activity.


Author's post-print. Made available in the Trinity College Digital Repository in accordance with the publisher's distribution policies.

Final published version available:

William H. Church, Ryan E. Adams ’13, Livia S. Wyss ’16. “Ketogenic Diet Alters Dopaminergic Activity in the Mouse Cortex.” Neuroscience Letters 571 (2014): 1-4

DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2014.04.016

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