Effects of β-Hydroxybutyrate on Traumatic Brain Injury in Drosophila

β-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB) is a ketone body that inhibits class 1 histone deacetylases (HDAC). It has been shown that cells treated with BHB displayed higher levels of histone acetylation at promoter genes involved with reduction of oxidative stress, such as FOXO3A and MT2. During oxidative stress, excess free radicals have the ability to damage neuron cells and can in some cases cause cell death. BHB has been shown to affect transcription of genes encoding oxidative stress resistance factors by selectively depleting HDAC1 and HDAC2. Furthermore, BHB has been shown to reduce oxidative stress by increasing levels of catalase via the AMPK-FOXO3 pathway. Here, we investigate the effects of a diet consisting of BHB on the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the fruit fly Drosophila Melanogaster. Due to information aforementioned, we expect flies fed with BHB to display symptoms of TBI that are less severe as compared to the control group. The control group were fed a regular diet while the treatment group were fed a diet consisting of BHB at a dose of 2mM. The control group and the BHB group of flies were put through a traumatic brain event with using a TBI apparatus. The severity of symptoms was determined by analyzing the results of negative geotaxis ten minutes and one week after the TBI. Catalase levels were measured post-mortem. Increased levels of BHB have been correlated with a ketogenic diet. This study gives further insight into how diet may affect the symptoms of TBI.