Olanzapine Depot Formulation in Rat: A Step Forward in Modelling Antipsychotic-Induced Metabolic Adverse Effects

Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2014 Jan;17(1):91-104. doi: 10.1017/S1461145713000862. Epub 2013 Aug 7.


Rats are used as animal models in the study of antipsychotic-induced metabolic adverse effects, with oral drug administration yielding hyperphagia, weight gain and, in some cases, lipogenic effects. However, the rapid half-life of these drugs in rats, in combination with development of drug tolerance after a few weeks of treatment, has limited the validity of the model. In order to prevent fluctuating drug serum concentrations seen with daily repeated administrations, we injected female rats with a single intramuscular dose of long-acting olanzapine formulation. The olanzapine depot injection yielded plasma olanzapine concentrations in the range of those achieved in patients, and induced changes in metabolic parameters similar to those previously observed with oral administration, including increased food intake, weight gain and elevated plasma triglycerides. Moreover, the sensitivity to olanzapine was maintained beyond the 2-3 wk of weight gain observed with oral administration. In a separate olanzapine depot experiment, we aimed to clarify the role of hypothalamic AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in olanzapine-induced weight gain, which has been subject to debate. Adenovirus-mediated inhibition of AMPK was performed in the arcuate (ARC) or the ventromedial hypothalamic (VMH) nuclei in female rats, with subsequent injection of olanzapine depot solution. Inhibition of AMPK in the ARC, but not in the VMH, attenuated the weight-inducing effect of olanzapine, suggesting an important role for ARC-specific AMPK activation in mediating the orexigenic potential of olanzapine. Taken together, olanzapine depot formulation provides an improved mode of drug administration, preventing fluctuating plasma concentrations, reducing handling stress and opening up possibilities to perform complex mechanistic studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antipsychotic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / blood
  • Arcuate Nucleus of Hypothalamus / enzymology
  • Benzodiazepines / administration & dosage
  • Benzodiazepines / adverse effects*
  • Benzodiazepines / blood
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / pharmacokinetics
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Metabolic Diseases / blood
  • Metabolic Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Olanzapine
  • Rats
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Ventromedial Hypothalamic Nucleus / enzymology
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Triglycerides
  • Benzodiazepines
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Olanzapine