Neural changes associated with appetite information processing in schizophrenic patients after 16 weeks of olanzapine treatment.Transl Psychiatry 2012; 2:e128TP
There is evidence that some atypical antipsychotics, including olanzapine, can produce unwanted metabolic side effects, weight gain and diabetes. However, neuronal correlates of change related to food information processing have not been investigated with these medications. We studied the effect of a pharmacological manipulation with an antipsychotic known to cause weight gain on metabolites, cognitive tasks and neural correlates related to food regulation. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging in conjunction with a task requiring visual processing of appetitive stimuli in schizophrenic patients and healthy controls before and after 16 weeks of antipsychotic medication with olanzapine. In patients, the psychological and neuronal changes associated following the treatment correlated with appetite control measures and metabolite levels in fasting blood samples. After 16 weeks of olanzapine treatment, the patients gained weight, increased their waist circumference, had fewer positive schizophrenia symptoms, a reduced ghrelin plasma concentration and an increased concentration of triglycerides, insulin and leptin. In premotor area, somatosensory cortices as well as bilaterally in the fusiform gyri, the olanzapine treatment increased the neural activity related to appetitive information in schizophrenic patients to similar levels relative to healthy individuals. However, a higher increase in sensitivity to appetitive stimuli after the treatment was observed in insular cortices, amygdala and cerebellum in schizophrenic patients as compared with healthy controls. Furthermore, these changes in neuronal activity correlated with changes in some metabolites and cognitive measurements related to appetite regulation.