Publication Details

Weston-Green, K., Babic, I., De Santis, M., Pan, B., Montgomery, M. K., Mitchell, T., Huang, X. & Nealon, J. (2018). Disrupted sphingolipid metabolism following acute clozapine and olanzapine administration. British Journal of Biomedical Science, 25 (1), 40-1-40-11.


Background: Second generation antipsychotics (SGAs) induce glucometabolic side-effects, such as hyperglycemia and insulin resistance, which pose a therapeutic challenge for mental illness. Sphingolipids play a role in glycaemic balance and insulin resistance. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress contributes to impaired insulin signalling and whole-body glucose intolerance. Diabetogenic SGA effects on ER stress and sphingolipids, such as ceramide and sphingomyelin, in peripheral metabolic tissues are unknown. This study aimed to investigate the acute effects of clozapine and olanzapine on ceramide and sphingomyelin levels, and protein expression of key enzymes involved in lipid and glucose metabolism, in the liver and skeletal muscle. Methods: Female rats were administered olanzapine (1 mg/kg), clozapine (12 mg/kg), or vehicle (control) and euthanized 1-h later. Ceramide and sphingomyelin levels were examined using electrospray ionization (ESI) mass spectrometry. Expression of lipid enzymes (ceramide synthase 2 (CerS2), elongation of very long-chain fatty acid 1 (ELOVL1), fatty acid synthase (FAS) and acetyl CoA carboxylase 1 (ACC1)), ER stress markers (inositol-requiring enzyme 1 (IRE1) and eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF2α) were also examined. Results: Clozapine caused robust reductions in hepatic ceramide and sphingolipid levels (p < 0.0001), upregulated CerS2 (p < 0.05) and ELOVL1 (+ 37%) and induced significant hyperglycemia (vs controls). In contrast, olanzapine increased hepatic sphingomyelin levels (p < 0.05 vs controls). SGAs did not alter sphingolipid levels in the muscle. Clozapine increased (+ 52.5%) hepatic eIF2α phosphorylation, demonstrating evidence of activation of the PERK/eIF2α ER stress axis. Hepatic IRE1, FAS and ACC1 were unaltered. Conclusions: This study provides the first evidence that diabetogenic SGAs disrupt hepatic sphingolipid homeostasis within 1-h of administration. Sphingolipids may be key candidates in the mechanisms underlying the diabetes side-effects of SGAs; however, further research is required.



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