Caloric restriction increases ketone bodies metabolism and preserves blood flow in aging brain

Ai Ling Lin, Wei Zhang, Xiaoli Gao, Lora Watts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Caloric restriction (CR) has been shown to increase the life span and health span of a broad range of species. However, CR effects on in vivo brain functions are far from explored. In this study, we used multimetric neuroimaging methods to characterize the CR-induced changes of brain metabolic and vascular functions in aging rats. We found that old rats (24 months of age) with CR diet had reduced glucose uptake and lactate concentration, but increased ketone bodies level, compared with the age-matched and young (5 months of age) controls. The shifted metabolism was associated with preserved vascular function: old CR rats also had maintained cerebral blood flow relative to the age-matched controls. When investigating the metabolites in mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid cycle, we found that citrate and α-ketoglutarate were preserved in the old CR rats. We suggest that CR is neuroprotective; ketone bodies, cerebral blood flow, and α-ketoglutarate may play important roles in preserving brain physiology in aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2296-2303
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Aging
  • Brain metabolism
  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Ketone bodies
  • Mammalian target of rapamycin
  • Neuroimaging
  • α-ketoglutarate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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