1. The effects of starvation and diabetes on brain fuel metabolism were examined by measuring arteriovenous differences for glucose, lactate, acetoacetate and 3-hydroxybutyrate across the brains of anaesthetized fed, starved and diabetic rats. 2. In fed animals glucose represented the sole oxidative fuel of the brain. 3. After 48h of starvation, ketone-body concentrations were about 2mm and ketone-body uptake accounted for 25% of the calculated O2 consumption: the arteriovenous difference for glucose was not diminished, but lactate release was increased, suggesting inhibition of pyruvate oxidation. 4. In severe diabetic ketosis, induced by either streptozotocin or phlorrhizin (total blood ketone bodies >7mm), the uptake of ketone bodies was further increased and accounted for 45% of the brain 's oxidative metabolism, and the arteriovenous difference for glucose was decreased by one-third. The arteriovenous difference for lactate was increased significantly in the phlorrhizin-treated rats. 5. Infusion of 3-hydroxybutyrate into starved rats caused marked increases in the arteriovenous differences for lactate and both ketone bodies. 6. To study the mechanisms of these changes, steady-state concentrations of intermediates and co-factors of the glycolytic pathway were determined in freeze-blown brain. 7. Starved rats had increased concentrations of acetyl-CoA. 8. Rats with diabetic ketosis had increased concentrations of fructose 6-phosphate and decreased concentrations of fructose 1,6-diphosphate, indicating an inhibition of phosphofructokinase. 9. The concentrations of acetyl-CoA, glycogen and citrate, a potent inhibitor of phosphofructokinase, were increased in the streptozotocin-treated rats. 10. The data suggest that cerebral glucose uptake is decreased in diabetic ketoacidosis owing to inhibition of phosphofructokinase as a result of the increase in brain citrate. 11. The inhibition of brain pyruvate oxidation in starvation and diabetes can be related to the accelerated rate of ketone-body metabolism; however, we found no correlation between the decrease in glucose uptake in the diabetic state and the arteriovenous difference for ketone bodies. 12. The data also suggest that the rates of acetoacetate and 3-hydroxybutyrate utilization by brain are governed by their concentrations in plasma. 13. The finding of very low concentrations of acetoacetate and 3-hydroxybutyrate in brain compared with plasma suggests that diffusion across the blood –brain barrier may be the rate-limiting step in their metabolism.

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