Body cells that can not use ketone bodies

Sunday, February 19, 2017

There are two kinds of tissue cells that can not use ketone bodies in a ketogenic diet or even during starvation. These are the liver cells, called hepatocytes, and the red blood cells, which do not have mitochondria. Even though hepatocytes mitochondria produce large amount of ketone bodies from fatty acids to supply the cardiac and skeletal muscles as well as the nerve cells during nutritional ketosis and starvation, they can not use ketones themselves as a source of energy. Thus, a minimum amount of glucose must be made from glycerol, which derives from saturated fat, to supply the liver parenchyma and the erythrocytes (red blood cells). The process of manufacturing glucose from glycerol (when the store of glycogen has been depleted) is called gluconeogenesis.