Publication Details

Lian, J., Huang, X., Pai, N. & Deng, C. (2015). Chronic betahistine co-treatment reverses olanzapine's effects on dopamine D2 but not 5-HT2A/2C bindings in rat brains. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 56 75-80.


Olanzapine is widely prescribed for treating schizophrenia and other mental disorders, although it leads to severe body weight gain/obesity. Chronic co-treatment with betahistine has been found to significantly decrease olanzapine-induced weight gain; however, it is not clear whether this co-treatment affects the therapeutic effects of olanzapine. This study investigated the effects of chronic treatment of olanzapine and/or betahistine on the binding density of the serotonergic 5-HT2A (5-HT2AR) and 5-HT2C (5-HT2CR) receptors, 5-HT transporter (5-HTT), and dopaminergic D2 receptors (D2R) in the brain regions involved in antipsychotic efficacy, including the prefrontal cortex (PFC), cingulate cortex (Cg), nucleus accumbens (NAc), and caudate putamen (CPu). Rats were treated with olanzapine (1 mg/kg, t.i.d.) or vehicle for 3.5 weeks, and then olanzapine treatment was withdrawn for 19 days. From week 6, the two groups were divided into 4 groups (n = 6) for 5 weeks' treatment: (1) olanzapine-only (1 mg/kg, t.i.d.), (2) betahistine-only (9.6 mg/kg, t.i.d.), (3) olanzapine and betahistine co-treatment (O + B), and (4) vehicle. Compared to the control, the olanzapine-only treatment significantly decreased the bindings of 5-HT2AR, 5-HT2CR, and 5-HTT in the PFC, Cg, and NAc. Similar changes were observed in the rats receiving the O + B co-treatment. The olanzapine-only treatment significantly increased the D2R binding in the Cg, NAc, and CPu, while the betahistine-only treatment reduced D2R binding. The co-treatment of betahistine reversed the D2R bindings in the NAc and CPu that were increased by olanzapine. Therefore, chronic O + B co-treatment has similar effects on serotonin transmission as the olanzapine-only treatment, but reverses the D2R that is up-regulated by chronic olanzapine treatment. The co-treatment maintains the therapeutic effects of olanzapine but decreases/prevents the excess weight gain.



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