The role of thermogenesis in antipsychotic drug-induced weight gain

Aneta Stefanidis, Aaron Verty, Andrew Mark Allen, Neil Craig Owens, Michael Alexander Cowley, Brian John Oldfield

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89 Citations (Scopus)


The administration of antipsychotic drugs to human patients or experimental animals leads to significant weight gain, which is widely presumed to be driven by hyperphagia; however, the contribution from energy expenditure remains unclear. These studies aim to examine the contribution of shifts in energy expenditure, particularly those involving centrally mediated changes in thermogenesis, to the body weight gain associated with the administration of olanzapine to female Sprague Dawley rats. Olanzapine (6 mg/kg/day orally) caused a transient increase in food intake but a maintained increase in body weight. When pair-fed rats were treated with olanzapine, body weight continued to rise compared to vehicle-treated rats, consistent with a reduction in energy expenditure. Brown adipose tissue (BAT) temperature, measured using biotelemetry devices, decreased immediately after the onset of olanzapine treatment and remained depressed, as did physical activity. UCP1 expression in interscapular BAT was reduced following chronic olanzapine treatment. An acute injection of olanzapine was preceded by an injection of a retrograde tracer into the spinal cord to evaluate the nature of the olanzapine-activated neural pathway. Levels of Fos protein in a number of spinally projecting neurons within discrete hypothalamic and brainstem sites were elevated in olanzapine-treated rats. Some of these neurons in the perifornical region of the lateral hypothalamus (LHA) were also Orexin A positive. These data collectively show a significant impact of thermogenesis (and physical activity) on the weight gain associated with olanzapine treatment. The anatomical studies provide an insight into the central neuroanatomical substrate that may subserve the altered thermogenic responses brought about by olanzapine.Obesity (2008) 17 1, 16-24. doi:10.1038/oby.2008.468.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16 - 24
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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