Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Robin L. Cooper


The ketogenic diet is commonly used to control epilepsy, especially in cases when medications cannot. The diet typically consists of high fat, low carb, and adequate protein and produces a metabolite called acetoacetate. Seizure activity is characterized by glutamate excitotoxicity and therefore glutamate regulation is a point of research for control of these disorders. Acetoacetate is heavily implicated as the primary molecule responsible for decreasing glutamate in the synapse; it is believed that acetoacetate interferes with the transport of glutamate into the synaptic vesicles. The effects on synaptic transmission at glutamatergic synapses was studied in relation to the ketogenic diet in Drosophila larvae for this thesis. Various measures of synaptic transmission were conducted. Acetoacetate decreased neurotransmission at the synapse. It was also found that acetoacetate has direct effects on the postsynaptic membrane, which indicates a novel role for the metabolite.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)