Olanzapine impairs glycogen synthesis and insulin signaling in L6 skeletal muscle cells

Mol Psychiatry. 2005 Dec;10(12):1089-96. doi: 10.1038/sj.mp.4001729.


Second-generation antipsychotic agents (SGAs) are increasingly replacing first-generation antipsychotic agents due to their superior activity against the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, decreased extrapyramidal symptoms and better tolerability. However, some SGAs are associated with adverse metabolic effects as significant weight gain, lipid disorders and diabetes mellitus. The pathogenesis of SGA-induced disturbances of glucose homeostasis is unclear. In vivo studies suggest a direct influence of SGAs on peripheral insulin resistance. To this end, we analyzed whether olanzapine might alter glycogen synthesis and the insulin-signaling cascade in L6 myotubes. Glycogen content was diminished in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Within the insulin-signaling cascade IRS-1 tyrosine phosphorylation was induced several fold by insulin and was diminished by preincubation with olanzapine. IRS-1-associated PI3K activity was stimulated by insulin three-fold in L6 myotubes. Olanzapine inhibited insulin-stimulated IRS-1-associated PI3K activity in a dose-dependent manner. Protein mass of AKT, GSK-3 and GS was unaltered, whereas phosphorylation of AKT and GSK-3 was diminished, and pGS was increased. Finally, we compared olanzapine with amisulpride, an SGA clinically not associated with the induction of diabetes mellitus. Glycogen content was diminished in olanzapine-preincubated L6 cells, whereas this effect was not observed under the amisulpride conditions. We conclude that olanzapine impairs glycogen synthesis via inhibition of the classical insulin-signaling cascade and that this inhibitory effect may lead to the induction of insulin resistance in olanzapine-treated patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Benzodiazepines / adverse effects
  • Benzodiazepines / pharmacology
  • Cell Line
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glucose Metabolism Disorders / chemically induced
  • Glycogen / biosynthesis*
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / cytology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Olanzapine
  • Rats
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Glycogen
  • Olanzapine