Olanzapine-induced liver injury in mice: aggravation by high-fat diet and protection with sulforaphane

J Nutr Biochem. 2020 Jul:81:108399. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2020.108399. Epub 2020 Apr 8.


Olanzapine is effective to treat for schizophrenia and other mood disorders, but limited by side effects such as weight gain, dyslipidemia, and liver injury. Obesity in the US is at epidemic levels, and is a significant risk factor for drug-induced liver injury. Obesity incidence in the psychiatric population is even higher than in the US population as a whole. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that obesity worsens olanzapine-induced hepatic injury, and to investigate the potential protective effects of sulforaphane. 8-week old female C57BL/6 mice were fed either a high-fat or low-fat control diet (HFD and LFD). Mice also received either olanzapine (8 mg/kg/d) or vehicle by osmotic minipump for 4 weeks. A subset of mice in the HFD + olanzapine group was administered sulforaphane, a prototypical Nrf2 inducer (90 mg/kg/d). Olanzapine alone increased body weight, without a commensurate increase in food consumption. Olanzapine also caused hepatic steatosis and injury. Combining olanzapine and HFD caused further dysregulation of glucose and lipid metabolism. Liver damage from concurrent HFD and olanzapine was worse than liver damage from high-fat diet or olanzapine alone. Sulforaphane alleviated many metabolic side effects of olanzapine and HFD. Taken together, these data show that olanzapine dysregulates glucose and lipid metabolism and exacerbates hepatic changes caused by eating a HFD. Activation of the intrinsic antioxidant defense pathway with sulforaphane can partially prevent these effects of olanzapine and may represent a useful strategy to protect against liver injury.

Keywords: HFD; Liver; NAFLD; Olanzapine; Oxidative Stress; Sulforaphane.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / epidemiology
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / metabolism*
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Fatty Liver / etiology
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isothiocyanates / administration & dosage
  • Isothiocyanates / pharmacology*
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / metabolism
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Olanzapine / adverse effects*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Prevalence
  • Sulfoxides / administration & dosage
  • Sulfoxides / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Isothiocyanates
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • Nfe2l2 protein, mouse
  • Sulfoxides
  • sulforaphane
  • Olanzapine