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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2006 Sep;187(4):447-54. Epub 2006 Jun 17.

A model for antipsychotic-induced obesity in the male rat.

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Laboratoire de Psychopharmacologie, Centre Hospitalier Paul Guiraud, 54 Avenue de la République, Villejuif, France.



Weight gain is a common and severe side effect of antipsychotic drugs. A usual tool to study the side effects of psychotropic drugs is animal models. However, attempts to create an animal model of antipsychotic-induced weight gain were not successful so far. Female rodents are sensitive to the effects of antipsychotics, but not males. This does not match the human clinical situation. Antipsychotics have different pharmacokinetic properties in rats and humans, and rats and humans have different spontaneous diets.


In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that the insensitivity of male rats to the weight-promoting effects of antipsychotics could be related to the mode of administration of antipsychotics and to the animals' diet. Antipsychotics were mixed with the food, and rats were fed a diet resembling the human diet. Rats were treated with 0.01, 0.1, 0.5, and 2 mg/kg of olanzapine or with a control solution for 6 weeks. Their weight and food intake were recorded, and their body composition were analyzed. The effects on weight and food intake of olanzapine (1 mg/kg), haloperidol (1 mg/kg), and ziprasidone (10 mg/kg) were also compared in a 3-week treatment experiment.


The results showed that 0.5 and 2 mg of olanzapine, but not lower doses, increase body weight and subcutaneous fat deposition. After the 3-week treatment, olanzapine-treated rats, but not haloperidol- or ziprasidone-treated rats, had significantly increased their weight.


This study shows that a rat model of obesity induced by antipsychotics can be created under specific conditions of drug administration, diet, and dose.

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