Second generation antipsychotics, particularly olanzapine, induce severe obesity, which is associated with their antagonistic effect on the histamine H1 receptor (H1R). We have previously demonstrated that oral administration of olanzapine increases the concentration of neuropeptide Y (NPY) in the hypothalamus of rats, accompanied by hyperphagia and weight gain. However, it is unclear if the increased NPY after olanzapine administration is due to its direct effect on hypothalamic neurons and its H1R antagonistic property. In the present study, we showed that with an inverted U-shape dose-response curve, olanzapine increased NPY expression in the NPY-GFP hypothalamic neurons; however, this was not the case in the hypothalamic neurons of H1R knockout mice. Olanzapine inhibited the interaction of H1R and GHSR1a (ghrelin receptor) in the primary mouse hypothalamic neurons and NPY-GFP neurons examined by confocal fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) technology. Furthermore, an H1R agonist, FMPH inhibited olanzapine activation of GHSR1a downstream signaling pAMPK and transcription factors of NPY (pFOXO1 and pCREB) in the hypothalamic NPY-GFP cell. However, an olanzapine analogue (E-Olan) with lower affinity to H1R presented negligible enhancement of pCREB within the nucleus of NPY neurons. These findings suggest that the H1R antagonist property of olanzapine inhibits the interaction of H1R and GHSR1a, activates GHSR1a downstream signaling pAMPK-FOXO1/pCREB and increases hypothalamic NPY: this could be one of the important molecular mechanisms of H1R antagonism of olanzapine-induced obesity in antipsychotic management of psychiatric disorders.
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