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Brain Metabolism during Fasting*

O. E. Owen, A. P. Morgan, H. G. Kemp, J. M. Sullivan, M. G. Herrera and G. F. Cahill, Jr.

Elliott P. Joslin Research Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, the Cardiovascular Unit, the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, and the Diabetes Foundation, Inc., Boston, MassachusettsElliott P. Joslin Research Laboratory, Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, the Cardiovascular Unit, the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, and the Diabetes Foundation, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts

Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

* Received for publication 17 April 1967 and in revised form 23 June 1967.

Published October 1967

Catheterization of cerebral vessels in three obese patients undergoing 5-6 wk of starvation demonstrated that β-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate replaced glucose as the predominant fuel for brain metabolism. A strikingly low respiratory quotient was also observed, suggesting a carboxylation mechanism as a means of disposing of some of the carbon of the consumed substrates.

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