Ketogenic and anaplerotic dietary modifications ameliorate seizure activity in Drosophila models of mitochondrial encephalomyopathy and glycolytic enzymopathy

Fogle, K. J., Smith, A. R., Satterfield, S. L., Gutierrez, A. C., Hertzler, J. I., McCardell, C. S., ... & Palladino, M. J.

Molecular genetics and metabolism (2019).

Seizures are a feature not only of the many forms of epilepsy, but also of global metabolic diseases such as mitochondrial encephalomyopathy (ME) and glycolytic enzymopathy (GE). Modern anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) are successful in many cases, but some patients are refractory to existing AEDs, which has led to a surge in interest in clinically managed dietary therapy such as the ketogenic diet (KD). This high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet causes a cellular switch from glycolysis to fatty acid oxidation and ketone body generation, with a wide array of downstream effects at the genetic, protein, and metabolite level that may mediate seizure protection. We have recently shown that a Drosophila model of human ME (ATP61) responds robustly to the KD; here, we have investigated the mechanistic importance of the major metabolic consequences of the KD in the context of this bioenergetics disease: ketogenesis, reduction of glycolysis, and anaplerosis. We have found that reduction of glycolysis does not confer seizure protection, but that dietary supplementation with ketone bodies or the anaplerotic lipid triheptanoin, which directly replenishes the citric acid cycle, can mimic the success of the ketogenic diet even in the presence of standard carbohydrate levels. We have also shown that the proper functioning of the citric acid cycle is crucial to the success of the KD in the context of ME. Furthermore, our data reveal that multiple seizure models, in addition to ATP61, are treatable with the ketogenic diet. Importantly, one of these mutants is TPIsugarkill, which models human glycolytic enzymopathy, an incurable metabolic disorder with severe neurological consequences. Overall, these studies reveal widespread success of the KD in Drosophila, further cementing its status as an excellent model for studies of KD treatment and mechanism, and reveal key insights into the therapeutic potential of dietary therapy against neuronal hyperexcitability in epilepsy and metabolic disease.

Ketogenic and anaplerotic dietary modifications ameliorate seizure activity in Drosophila models of mitochondrial encephalomyopathy and glycolytic enzymopathy

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