The Brain Hypometabolism Hypothesis Part 61: What are Ketone Bodies?

Ketone bodies are products of fatty acid metabolism (White and Venkatash, 2011).  The three main Ketone bodies are

  • Acetoacetate
  • Beta-Hydroxybutarate
  • Acetone

What is a Ketone?

Ketone

Ketone Structure (Public Domain) by Benjah-bmm27

A Ketone is a chemical compound in which a Carbonyl group (a Carbon atom with a double bond (4 electrons) to an Oxygen atom) binds to 2 Carbon atoms (IUPAC, 2017).

 

Brain Hypometabolism Hypothesis

The Brain Hypometabolism Hypothesis focuses on energy metabolism. More specifically the hypothesis states that

Energy hypometabolism in the brain leads to neuropathology

Human_Metabolism_-_Pathways

Human Metabolism by Frozen Man (CC BY 4.0)

What is Metabolism?

Metabolism can be defined as the chemical processes that occur in living organisms. There are three types of metabolic processes

(a) Generation of energy

(b) Generation of basic chemicals including fatty acids, amino acids and sugars

(c) Elimination of Nitrogen waste products

Glycolysis

Glycolysis

Glycolysis by Dr Thomas Shafee (CC BY 4.0)

Glycolysis is one of the key pathways for energy metabolism in the human body. In this metabolic pathway the molecule Glucose is converted into Pyruvate. This pathway generates energy in the form of ATP. This pathway however does not use oxygen although the products generated are metabolised using oxygen. This is relevant to the bigger picture of energy metabolism in the brain.

1024px-Acetyl-CoA-3D-vdW

Acetyl CoA Space Filling Molecule by Benjah-bmm27 (Public Domain)

Acetyl Coenzyme A is an important molecule for many pathways involved in energy metabolism. Acetyl Coenzyme A is derived from

(a) Glucose via the Glycolysis pathway

(b) Amino acids via Acetoacetyl-CoA, Pyruvate and directly through multiple pathways

(c) Fatty acids via Beta-oxidation

Vitamin B5 is required for the synthesis of Acetyl CoA.

The Citric Acid Cycle

The Citric Acid Cycle (CC BY 3.0) by Narayanese, WikiUserPedia, YassineMrabet, TotoBaggins, Wadester16

The Citric Acid Cycle is one of the main energy metabolism pathways in humans. Acetyl Co-A which is generated from other pathways is utilised in the Citric Acid Cycle. The Citric Acid Cycle has a number of properties

  1. Generation of energy in the form of ATP
  2. Generating NADH which is utilised in oxidative phosphorylation
  3. Citric Acid is regenerated
  4. Carbon Dioxide is produced

The Citric Acid Cycle takes place in the Mitochondria.

The Citric Acid Cycle is important for the discussion of the Brain Hypometabolism Hypothesis where we have already discussed the metabolism of Glucose.

References

IUPAC. Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. (the “Gold Book”). Compiled by A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford (1997). XML on-line corrected version: http://goldbook.iupac.org (2006-) created by M. Nic, J. Jirat, B. Kosata; updates compiled by A. Jenkins. ISBN 0-9678550-9-8. https://doi.org/10.1351/goldbook. Last update: 2014-02-24; version: 2.3.3. DOI of this term: https://doi.org/10.1351/goldbook.K03386. Accessed 8th May 2017.

White H1, Venkatesh B. Clinical review: ketones and brain injury. Crit Care. 2011 Apr 6;15(2):219. doi: 10.1186/cc10020.

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Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

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