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Could a ketogenic diet alleviate gout?

Date:
February 28, 2017
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
Recent work has shown that the ketone body ?-hydroxybutyrate can specifically inhibit the NLRP3 inflammasome. They found that feeding rats a high-fat, low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet increased ?-hydroxybutyrate levels and protected rats from joint swelling, tissue damage, and systemic inflammation normally seen during gout.
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More than 8 million individuals in the United States have gout, a disease that can cause intense recurrent episodes of debilitating pain, inflammation, and fever. The cause of gout is the accumulation of urate crystals in joints, which continuously reactivate the immune system, leading to activation of the most common type of immune cell in the blood, neutrophils. These periods of immune reactivation are known as flares, and are driven by a protein complex called the NLRP3 inflammasome.

Recent work from the laboratory of Vishwa Deep Dixit, Professor of Comparative Medicine and Immunobiology, has shown that the ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate can specifically inhibit the NLRP3 inflammasome. Ketones are byproducts of fat break down in the liver that can serve as alternative metabolic fuels for the brain and heart during periods of low carbohydrate intake, such as fasting, or ketogenic diet. To test if elevating ketones protected against inflammation during gout, a Postdoctoral Fellow in Dixit's lab, Emily Goldberg, and Associate Research Scientist and Clinical Veterinarian in Comparative Medicine, Jennifer Asher, and their colleagues collaborated to develop a novel model of gout flares in rats.

They found that feeding rats a high-fat, low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet increased β-hydroxybutyrate levels and protected rats from joint swelling, tissue damage, and systemic inflammation normally seen during gout.

"In isolated neutrophils, β-hydroxybutyrate completely blocked NLRP3 inflammasome activation, even when provided at low concentrations that are physiologically achievable through dietary modification," said Goldberg. She speculated that specifically targeting the NLRP3 inflammasome to reduce inflammation during a flare could improve gout patients' outcomes, but more studies need to be performed to test this possibility.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Yale University. Original written by Ziba Kashef. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Emily L. Goldberg, Jennifer L. Asher, Ryan D. Molony, Albert C. Shaw, Caroline J. Zeiss, Chao Wang, Ludmilla A. Morozova-Roche, Raimund I. Herzog, Akiko Iwasaki, Vishwa Deep Dixit. β-Hydroxybutyrate Deactivates Neutrophil NLRP3 Inflammasome to Relieve Gout Flares. Cell Reports, 2017; 18 (9): 2077 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.02.004

Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Could a ketogenic diet alleviate gout?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 February 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170228130951.htm>.
Yale University. (2017, February 28). Could a ketogenic diet alleviate gout?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170228130951.htm
Yale University. "Could a ketogenic diet alleviate gout?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170228130951.htm (accessed March 23, 2017).