JUL 27, 2021 9:00 AM PDT

Immune related genes influence antipsychotic-induced weight gain.

WRITTEN BY: J. Bryce Ortiz

Mental disorders such as Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder are currently incurable, but some symptoms can be treated with pharmaceuticals. In some individuals, antipsychotic drugs, such as olanzapine, have been shown to be effective in managing the symptoms of psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia. However, one adverse side effect of antipsychotic medications is antipsychotic-induced weight gain (AIWG). In a recent study published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, researchers investigated whether genes related to inflammation might contribute to AIWG. 

While nearly all antipsychotic drug therapies result in some degree of weight gain, AIWG is considered pathological when the amount of weight gain is greater than 7% of baseline body weight. AIWG affects approximately 20% of patients who take antipsychotic medications. In the current study, researchers used a mouse model where mice were fed a high fat diet for 14 days in conjunction with the antipsychotic drug olanzapine. Weight gain of the mice was recorded and they were then classified into weight gain-“prone” mice and weight gain-“resistant” mice. These two distinct profiles of weight gain in the mice allowed for the analysis of gene expression between the groups. 

After analyzing gene expression of the two groups of mice, the researchers found that immunomodulatory genetic pathways distinguished the two groups of mice. Immunomodulatory pathways help to activate or suppress the body’s immune system. Interestingly, the specific genetic pathways that help to distinguish the weight gain prone versus weight gain resistant mice are also well conserved genetic pathways in humans.

The findings from this study help to identify genetic pathways that can be targeted by therapeutics to combat AIWG. Additionally, the researchers believe that the results provide insight into the relationship between inflammation and obesity. As such, the findings from the research could also aid in the treatment of obesity and other metabolic disorders. 


Sources: StudyTranslational Psychiatry

About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Science and medical writer | Researcher | Interested in the intersection between translational science, drug development, and policy
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