Haloperidol and olanzapine mediate metabolic abnormalities through different molecular pathways.

V. Mondelli, C. Anacker, A. C. Vernon, A. Cattaneo, S. Natesan, M. Modo, P. Dazzan, S. Kapur, C. M. Pariante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The pathogenesis of antipsychotic-induced disturbances of glucose homeostasis is still unclear. Increased visceral adiposity has been suggested to be a possible mediating mechanism. The aim of this study was to investigate, in an animal model, the differential effects of olanzapine and haloperidol on visceral fat deposition (using magnetic resonance imaging(MRI)) and on critical nodes of the insulin signaling pathway (liver-protein levels of IRS2 (insulin receptor substrate 2), GSK3α (glycogen synthase kinase-3α), GSK3β, GSK3α-Ser21, GSK3β-Ser9). To this end, we studied male Sprague-Dawley rats treated with vehicle (n=8), haloperidol (2 mg kg(-1) per day, n=8), or olanzapine (10 mg kg(-1)per day, n=8), using osmotic minipumps, for 8 weeks. The haloperidol group showed a higher percentage of visceral fat than both the olanzapine group and the vehicle group, whereas there was no difference between the olanzapine and the vehicle group. In terms of insulin signaling pathway, the olanzapine group showed significantly reduced IRS2 levels, reduced phosphorylation of GSK3α and increased phosphorylation of GSK3β, whereas there was no difference between the haloperidol and the vehicle group. Our data suggest that different molecular pathways mediate the disturbances of glucose homeostasis induced by haloperidol and olanzapine with a direct effect of olanzapine on the insulin molecular pathway, possibly partly explaining the stronger propensity of olanzapine for adverse effects on glucose regulation when compared with haloperidol in clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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