Olanzapine, but not fluoxetine, treatment increases survival in activity-based anorexia in mice

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2012 Jun;37(7):1620-31. doi: 10.1038/npp.2012.7. Epub 2012 Mar 7.


Anorexia nervosa (AN) is an eating disorder characterized by extreme hypophagia, hyperactivity, and fear of weight gain. No approved pharmacological treatments exist for AN despite high mortality rates. The activity-based anorexia (ABA) phenomenon models aspects of AN in rodents, including progressive weight loss, reduced food intake, and hyperactivity. First, we optimized the ABA paradigm for mice. We compared mouse strains (Balb/cJ, A/J) for susceptibility with ABA, and evaluated the effects of different food access durations (2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 h) on ABA parameters. Balb/cJ mice exhibited significantly shorter survival time (days until 25% bodyweight loss) in the ABA paradigm compared with A/J mice. Furthermore, 6 h of food access reduced survival in mice housed with wheels without reducing survival in mice housed without wheels. We then evaluated the effects of chronic treatment with fluoxetine (4 weeks) or subchronic treatment with olanzapine (OLZ) (1 week) on ABA in BALB/cJ mice. OLZ (12 mg/kg/day) significantly increased survival and reduced food anticipatory activity (FAA). However, OLZ did not alter food intake or running wheel activity during ad-lib feeding (baseline) or restriction conditions, or in mice housed without wheels. Fluoxetine (18 mg/kg/day) increased food intake and reduced FAA, but did not alter survival. Here, we report for the first time that OLZ, but not fluoxetine, reduces ABA in mice. Our findings indicate further need for clinical investigations into the effects of OLZ, but not selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, on core features of AN.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anorexia / drug therapy*
  • Anorexia / mortality
  • Benzodiazepines / pharmacology
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Female
  • Fluoxetine / pharmacology
  • Fluoxetine / therapeutic use*
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Olanzapine
  • Running
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Survival Rate


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Fluoxetine
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Olanzapine