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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Physiologic mechanisms in the development of starvation ketosis in man.

The present study was undertaken to determine whether alterations in ketone body utilization and hepatic production, independent of the FFA load, were also involved in the development of fasting ketosis. Plasma Beta-OH butyric acid (Beta-OHB) increased to 2.5-4.5 mM and plasma FFA to 1,000-1,400 muEq/L. in normal weight individuals after five to seven days' starvation and in obese subjects after ten to fourteen days' fasting. Acute elevations fo the plasma FFA greater than 1,500 muEq/L. for sixty minutes in fed normal weight and obese subjects with a fat meal-heparin regimen resulted in peak elevations of plasma Beta-OHB (0.25-0.45mM), only 10 percent of that seen during fasting. When plasma FFA were lowered acutely during fasting with the antilipolytic agent Pyrazole to control levels (400-600 muEq/L.), plasma Beta-OHB decreased 35 plus or minus 5 per cent. Comparable lowering of plasma FFA in normal weight or obese starved subjects given dexamethasone to maintain elevated fasting plasma insulin levels resulted in an 87 plus or minus 3 per cent decrease in plasma Beta-OHB. Similar studies in obese fasted subjects pretreated with an intravenous infusion of insulin (1.0 U/hr. for eight hours) before receiving Pyrazole resulted in a 65 plus or minus 5 per cent decrease in plasma Beta-OHB. Plasma Beta-OHB half-life, determined after injections of 12 gm. Beta-OHB, increased significantly during fasting (110 plus or minus 15 minutes) and was decreased when the fasting subjects were maintained on dexamethasone (65 plus or minus 7 minutes). These studies indicate that accelerated hepatic ketogenesis during starvation is a result of both enhanced activity of the enzymatic system(s) involved in ketone body production as well as an increased FFA load. The increase in plasma Beta-OHB during fasting reflects not only an accelerated rate of hepatic ketogenesis but also an impairment of peripheral utilization, both processes apparently being sensitive to insulin. Diabetes 24:10-16, January, 1975.[1]


  1. Physiologic mechanisms in the development of starvation ketosis in man. Grey, N.J., Karl, I., Kipnis, D.M. Diabetes (1975) [Pubmed]
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