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Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2012 Mar;15(2):163-79. doi: 10.1017/S1461145711001271. Epub 2011 Aug 19.

Olanzapine, but not aripiprazole, weight-independently elevates serum triglycerides and activates lipogenic gene expression in female rats.

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Dr. Einar Martens' Research Group for Biological Psychiatry, Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Bergen, Norway.


Metabolic adverse effects such as weight gain and dyslipidaemia represent a major concern in treatment with several antipsychotic drugs, including olanzapine. It remains unclear whether such metabolic side-effects fully depend on appetite-stimulating actions, or whether some dysmetabolic features induced by antipsychotics may arise through direct perturbation of metabolic pathways in relevant peripheral tissues. Recent clinical and preclinical studies indicate that dyslipidaemia could occur independently of weight gain. Using a rat model, we showed that subchronic treatment with olanzapine induces weight gain and increases adipose tissue mass in rats with free access to food. This effect was also observed for aripiprazole, considered metabolically neutral in the clinical setting. In pair-fed rats with limited food access, neither olanzapine nor aripiprazole induced weight gain. Interestingly, olanzapine, but not aripiprazole, induced weight-independent elevation of serum triglycerides, accompanied by up-regulation of several genes involved in lipid biosynthesis, both in liver and in adipose tissues. Our findings support the existence of tissue-specific, weight-independent direct effects of olanzapine on lipid metabolism.

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