Short- and long-term effects of antipsychotic drug treatment on weight gain and H1 receptor expression



Publication Details

Han, M., Deng, C., Burne, T., Newell, K. A. & Huang, X. (2008). Short- and long-term effects of antipsychotic drug treatment on weight gain and H1 receptor expression. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 33 (5), 569-580.


The present study investigated body weight gain, food intake, open-field activity and brain histamine H1 receptor mRNA and protein expression in rats treated with three types of antipsychotics. Rats were divided into eight groups and treated with aripiprazole (2.25mg/kg/day), olanzapine (1.5mg/kg/day), haloperidol (0.3mg/kg/day) or vehicle (as control) for 1 or 12 weeks. Administration of olanzapine for 1 week led to a threefold increase in body weight gain and a 35% increase in fat deposits compared to controls (p<0.05). In the 12-week olanzapine treatment group, accumulative food intake was significantly higher in the first 7 weeks of treatment compared to controls (p<0.018), while body weight gain was significantly greater in the first 8 weeks compared to controls (p<0.045). Using in situ hybridization, we found that olanzapine treatment, but not aripiprazole or haloperidol treatment, significantly reduced H1 receptor mRNA expression in the arcuate hypothalamic nucleus (Arc: -18%, p=0.006, 1 week; -20%, p=0.008, 12 weeks) and ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (VMH: -22%, p=0.006, 1 week; -19%, p=0.042, 12 weeks) compared to controls. The quantitative autoradiography data showed a reduction in VMH H1 receptor binding density after 1 (-12%, p=0.040) and 12 (-10%, p=0.094) weeks of olanzapine treatment. There were significant negative correlations between the levels of H1 receptor mRNA expression, and body weight gain and energy efficiency in the Arc and VMH after 1- and 12-week antipsychotic treatments in all groups. In addition, H1 receptor mRNA expression in the Arc showed a significant negative correlation with food intake and fat mass in all groups. Furthermore, there were negative correlations between H1 receptor binding density in the VMH and total fat mass and body weight gain after 1 week of antipsychotic treatment. The present study suggests that downregulated VMH and Arc H1 receptor expression may be a key factor contributing to olanzapine-induced obesity.

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