Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism : official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism

Sirtuin 3 mediates neuroprotection of ketones against ischemic stroke.

PMID 26058697


Stroke is one of the leading causes of death. Growing evidence indicates that ketone bodies have beneficial effects in treating stroke, but their underlying mechanism remains unclear. Our previous study showed ketone bodies reduced reactive oxygen species by using NADH as an electron donor, thus increasing the NAD(+)/NADH ratio. In this study, we investigated whether mitochondrial NAD(+)-dependent Sirtuin 3 (SIRT3) could mediate the neuroprotective effects of ketone bodies after ischemic stroke. We injected mice with either normal saline or ketones (beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate) at 30 minutes after ischemia induced by transient middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion. We found that ketone treatment enhanced mitochondria function, reduced oxidative stress, and therefore reduced infarct volume. This led to improved neurologic function after ischemia, including the neurologic score and the performance in Rotarod and open field tests. We further showed that ketones' effects were achieved by upregulating NAD(+)-dependent SIRT3 and its downstream substrates forkhead box O3a (FoxO3a) and superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) in the penumbra region since knocking down SIRT3 in vitro diminished ketones' beneficial effects. These results provide us a foundation to develop novel therapeutics targeting this SIRT3-FoxO3a-SOD2 pathway.