Acute clozapine exposure in vivo induces lipid accumulation and marked sequential changes in the expression of SREBP, PPAR, and LXR target genes in rat liver
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Several antipsychotic drugs (APDs) have high propensity to induce weight gain and dyslipidemia in patients, with clozapine and olanzapine as the most potent drugs. These lipid-related effects have been attributed to drug-mediated blockade or antagonism of histamine H1 and serotonin 5-HT2 receptors as well as activation of hypothalamic AMP-activated protein kinase. We recently showed that APDs activate lipid biosynthesis in cultured liver cells through stimulation of the sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP) transcription factors.
The objective of the study was to search for clozapine-related lipogenic effects in peripheral tissues in vivo using rat liver as target organ.
Materials and methods
Adult female Sprague–Dawley rats were administered single intraperitoneal injections of clozapine (25 and 50 mg/kg). Hepatic lipid levels were measured during a 48-h time course. Real-time quantitative PCR was used to analyze expression of genes involved in lipid biosynthesis, oxidation, efflux, and lipolysis.
We identified an initial up-regulation of central lipogenic SREBP target genes, followed by a marked and sustained down-regulation. We also observed a sequential transcriptional response for fatty acid β-oxidation and cholesterol efflux genes, normally controlled by the peroxisome proliferator activated receptor alpha and liver X receptor alpha transcription factors, and also down-regulation of genes encoding major lipases. The transcriptional responses were associated with a significant accumulation of triacylglycerol, phospholipids, and cholesterol in the liver.
These results demonstrate that acute clozapine exposure affects SREBP-regulated lipid biosynthesis as well as other lipid homeostasis pathways. We suggest that such drug-induced effects on lipid metabolism in peripheral tissues are relevant for the metabolic adverse effects associated with clozapine and possibly other APDs.
KeywordsAntipsychotic Clozapine Energy metabolism Gene expression Lipid Rat RT-PCR
We acknowledge the research infrastructure provided by the Norwegian Microarray Consortium (NMC; www.microarray.no), a national FUGE technology platform (Functional Genomics in Norway; www.fuge.no). The present study has been supported by grants from the Research Council of Norway (incl. the FUGE program and “PSYKISK HELSE” program), Helse Vest RHF, Dr. Einar Martens Fund, and the Lundbeck Foundation through a research grant to JF, awarded by the Scandinavian College of Neuro-Psychopharmacology (SCNP). We highly appreciate the excellent technical assistance from Marianne S. Nævdal in the animal facility. The authors also thank Erling Dahl Borkamo for assistance with the digital microscopy.
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