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Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Feb 15;32(2):428-36. Epub 2007 Sep 22.

Chronic clozapine treatment in female rats does not induce weight gain or metabolic abnormalities but enhances adiposity: implications for animal models of antipsychotic-induced weight gain.

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School of Psychology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.


The ability of clozapine to induce weight gain in female rats was investigated in three studies with progressively lowered doses of clozapine. In an initial preliminary high dose study, clozapine at 6 and 12 mg/kg (i.p., b.i.d.) was found to induce weight loss. In a subsequent intermediate dose study, we obtained no evidence for clozapine-induced weight gain despite using identical procedures and doses of clozapine (1-4 mg/kg, i.p., b.i.d.) with which we have observed olanzapine-induced weight gain, hyperphagia, enhanced adiposity and metabolic changes [Cooper G, Pickavance L, Wilding J, Halford J, Goudie A (2005). A parametric analysis of olanzapine-induced weight gain in female rats. Psychopharmacology; 181: 80-89.]. Instead, clozapine induced weight loss without alteration in food intake and muscle mass or changes in levels of glucose, insulin, leptin and prolactin. However, these intermediate doses of clozapine enhanced visceral adiposity and elevated levels of adiponectin. In a final study, low doses of clozapine (0.25-0.5 mg/kg, i.p, b.i.d.) induced weight loss. These data demonstrate that clozapine-induced weight gain can be much more difficult to observe in female rats than olanzapine-induced weight gain. Moreover, these findings contrast with clinical findings with clozapine, which induces substantial weight gain in humans. Clozapine-induced enhanced adiposity appears to be easier to observe in rats than weight gain. These findings, along with other preclinical studies, suggest that enhanced adiposity can be observed in the absence of antipsychotic-induced weight gain and hyperphagia, possibly reflecting a direct drug effect on adipocyte function independent of drug-induced hyperphagia [e.g. Minet-Ringuet J, Even P, Valet P, Carpene C, Visentin V, Prevot D, Daviaud D, Quignard-Boulange A, Tome D, de Beaurepaire R (2007). Alterations of lipid metabolism and gene expression in rat adipocytes during chronic olanzapine treatment. Molecular Psychiatry; 12: 562-571.]. These and other findings which show that the results of studies of antipsychotic treatment in animals do not always mimic clinical findings have important implications for the use of animal models of antipsychotic-induced weight gain. With regard to weight gain the results obtained appear to depend critically on the experimental procedures used and the specific drugs studied. Thus such models are not without limitations. However, they do consistently demonstrate the ability of various antipsychotics to enhance adiposity.

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