The antipsychotic drugs olanzapine and haloperidol modify network connectivity and spontaneous activity of neural networks in vitro

Sci Rep. 2017 Sep 14;7(1):11609. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-11944-0.


Impaired neural synchronization is a hallmark of psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia. It has been proposed that schizophrenia-related cognitive deficits are caused by an unbalance of reciprocal inhibitory and stimulatory signaling. This supposedly leads to decreased power of induced gamma oscillations during the performance of cognitive tasks. In light of this hypothesis an efficient antipsychotic treatment should modify the connectivity and synchronization of local neural circuits. To address this issue, we investigated a model of hippocampal neuronal networks in vitro. Inhibitory and excitatory innervation of GABAergic and glutamatergic neurons was quantified using immunocytochemical markers and an automated routine to estimate network connectivity. The first generation (FGA) and second generation (SGA) antipsychotic drugs haloperidol and olanzapine, respectively, differentially modified the density of synaptic inputs. Based on the observed synapse density modifications, we developed a computational model that reliably predicted distinct changes in network activity patterns. The results of computational modeling were confirmed by spontaneous network activity measurements using the multiple electrode array (MEA) technique. When the cultures were treated with olanzapine, overall activity and synchronization were increased, whereas haloperidol had the opposite effect. We conclude that FGAs and SGAs differentially affect the balance between inhibition and excitation in hippocampal networks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Haloperidol / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Neural Pathways / drug effects*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Olanzapine / pharmacology*
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Haloperidol
  • Olanzapine