Publication Details

Zhang, Q., Deng, C. & Huang, X. 2013, 'The role of ghrelin signalling in second-generation antipsychotic-induced weight gain', Psychoneuroendocrinology, vol. 38, no. 11, pp. 2423-2438.


Based on clinical and animal studies, this review suggests a tri-phasic effect of second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) on circulating ghrelin levels: an initial increase exerted by the acute effect of SGAs; followed by a secondary decrease possibly due to the negative feedback from the SGA-induced body weight gain or hyperphagia; and a final re-increase to reach the new equilibrium. Moreover, the results can also vary depending on individual SGAs, other hormonal states, dietary choices, and other confounding factors including medical history, co-treatments, age, gender, and ghrelin measurement techniques. Interestingly, rats treated with olanzapine, an SGA with high weight gain liabilities, are associated with increased hypothalamic ghrelin receptor (GHS-R1a) levels. In addition, expressions of downstream ghrelin signalling parameters at the hypothalamus, including neuropeptide Y (NPY)/agouti-related peptide (AgRP) and proopiomelanocortin (POMC) are also altered under SGA treatments. Thus, understanding the role of ghrelin signalling in antipsychotic drug-induced weight gain should offer potential novel pharmacological targets for tackling the obesity side-effect of SGAs and its associated metabolic syndrome.

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