Quantification of Autophagy in the Fat Cells of Drosophila Fed BHB Supplements



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The ketogenic (keto) diet has been popularized in the media. However, it has also been prescribed to children and adults with drug-resistant epilepsy (Liśkiewicz et al., 2021; Ułamek-Kozioł et al., 2019). After being on this diet, patients often saw decreased or reduced seizure occurrence (Ułamek-Kozioł et al., 2019). While on a keto diet, the body produces ketone bodies, which may impact the diet’s effect on seizure reduction (Ułamek-Kozioł et al., 2019). Some previous studies in mice have suggested that ketone bodies can increase autophagy, which positively impacts health and helps maintain cellular homeostasis (Liśkiewicz et al., 2021; Xiang et al., 2023). While the keto diet can be a good treatment for those with drug-resistant epilepsy, it has side effects such as vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, and kidney stones (Xiang et al., 2023; Ułamek-Kozioł et al., 2019). Using ketone body supplements as an alternative treatment to the keto diet would avoid unfavorable side effects. It would only work as an alternative if ketone body supplements provided the same beneficial effects as the keto diet. I analyzed the fat body cells of Drosophila melanogaster to determine if there were increased rates of autophagy in larvae fed a diet supplemented with BHB (ß-hydroxybutyrate - a ketone body) compared to larvae fed a control diet. I generated images using a Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope, and they were then analyzed using Cell Profiler to determine if the two treatments had statistically significant differences. After statistical analysis (T-test) of the difference in average puncta per nucleus between the two treatments, the resulting p-value was 0.397. This p-value is greater than 0.05, indicating that the differences between the BHB and control treatments were insignificant.



Ketogenic Diet, Drosophila melanogaster, Biological Sciences, Molecular Biology, Autophagy, Ketosis, Ketone Bodies, ß-hydroxybutyrate, Epilepsy, mTOR, AMPK