Ketogenic Diet as a potential treatment for traumatic brain injury in mice

Meirav Har-Even, Vardit Rubovitch, Whitney A. Ratliff, Bar Richmond-Hacham, Bruce A. Citron, Chaim G. Pick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a brain dysfunction without present treatment. Previous studies have shown that animals fed ketogenic diet (KD) perform better in learning tasks than those fed standard diet (SD) following brain injury. The goal of this study was to examine whether KD is a neuroprotective in TBI mouse model. We utilized a closed head injury model to induce TBI in mice, followed by up to 30 days of KD/SD. Elevated levels of ketone bodies were confirmed in the blood following KD. Cognitive and behavioral performance was assessed post injury and molecular and cellular changes were assessed within the temporal cortex and hippocampus. Y-maze and Novel Object Recognition tasks indicated that mTBI mice maintained on KD displayed better cognitive abilities than mTBI mice maintained on SD. Mice maintained on SD post-injury demonstrated SIRT1 reduction when compared with uninjured and KD groups. In addition, KD management attenuated mTBI-induced astrocyte reactivity in the dentate gyrus and decreased degeneration of neurons in the dentate gyrus and in the cortex. These results support accumulating evidence that KD may be an effective approach to increase the brain’s resistance to damage and suggest a potential new therapeutic strategy for treating TBI.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23559
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


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