1. The aim of this work was to examine whether platelet-activating factor could mimic the hypoketonaemia seen in septic and endotoxic experimental animals. Platelet-activating factor was administered either by the intraperitoneal (high dose) or intravenous (jugular vein, low dose) routes.

2. Intraperitoneal injection of platelet-activating factor (25 μg/kg body weight) decreased the blood ketone body concentration (acetoacetate plus 3-hydroxybutyrate) transiently (30 min after injection) in starved rats. Continuous intravenous infusion of platelet-activating factor (40 ng min−1 kg−1 for 5 h) caused comparable hypoketonaemia.

3. The hepatic acetoacetate concentration also decreased transiently after injection of platelet-activating factor and there was an increase in the 3-hydroxybutyrate/acetoacetate ratio. The hepatic ATP concentration decreased at 15 and 30 min after injection of platelet-activating factor. Infusion of platelet-activating factor caused a similar decrease in hepatic ketone body concentration, but no significant change in the 3-hydroxybutyrate/acetoacetate ratio or adenine nucleotide concentrations.

4. Platelet-activating factor administered by infusion, but not by injection, decreased the plasma non-esterified fatty acid concentration. The plasma glycerol concentration also decreased after infusion of platelet-activating factor, suggesting decreased lipolysis in adipose tissue.

5. Changes in plasma insulin concentration or white adipose tissue blood flow did not appear to contribute to the decrease in the plasma non-esterified fatty acid concentration after infusion of platelet-activating factor. However, there was a significant decrease in blood flow to interscapular brown adipose tissue in both the infused and injected groups.

6. These findings suggest that infusion of platelet-activating factor causes a decrease in ketone bodies by limiting the supply of non-esterified fatty acids to the liver, and that the transient hypoketonaemia seen with intraperitoneal injection may possibly be due to decreased oxidation of non-esterified fatty acids secondary to hepatic vasoconstriction.

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