Adipokine levels are associated with insulin resistance in antipsychotics users independently of BMI

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2019 May;103:87-95. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2019.01.001. Epub 2019 Jan 6.


Background: The prevalence of obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus is increased among patients with severe mental disorders, and particularly use of second generation antipsychotic drugs is associated with metabolic side effects. Antipsychotics have been found to alter levels of adipokines which regulate insulin sensitivity, but their role in antipsychotic-associated insulin resistance is not established, and it is unclear whether adipokines affect insulin resistance independently of body mass index (BMI).

Methods: We included 1050 patients with severe mental disorders and 112 healthy controls aged 18-65 years from the Oslo area, Norway. Clinical variables, BMI and use of medication were assessed, fasting blood samples were obtained for calculation of the leptin/adiponectin ratio (L/A ratio) and estimate of insulin resistance using the Homeostatic Model Assessment for Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR). Case-control analyses were followed by mediation analyses to evaluate the possible direct effect of antipsychotics on HOMA-IR and indirect effect mediated via the L/A ratio. This was performed both with and without adjustment for BMI, in the total sample and in an antipsychotic monotherapy subsample (N = 387).

Results: BMI, L/A ratio and HOMA-IR were significantly higher in patients than controls (p < 0.001-p = 0.01). There was a significant direct effect from use of antipsychotics in general on HOMA-IR both without (b = 0.03, p = 0.007) and with adjustment for BMI (b = 0.03, p = 0.013), as well as a significant mediating effect via L/A ratio both without (b = 0.03, p < 0.001) and with adjustment for BMI (b = 0.01, p = 0.041). Use of olanzapine (b = 0.03, p < 0.001) or aripiprazole (b = 0.04, p < 0.001) in monotherapy showed significant effects on HOMA-IR mediated via L/A ratio.

Conclusions: The study suggests that use of antipsychotics may alter adipokine levels, and that increased L/A ratio may play a role in the development of insulin resistance associated with use of antipsychotics also independently of BMI.

Keywords: Adipokines; Antipsychotics; BMI; Bipolar disorder; Insulin resistance; Schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / analysis*
  • Adipokines / blood
  • Adult
  • Antipsychotic Agents / metabolism*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacology
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Leptin / blood
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / metabolism
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway
  • Obesity / metabolism


  • Adipokines
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Leptin