Altered gene expression in antipsychotic-induced weight gain


Antipsychotic drugs are one of the largest types of prescribed drugs. However, antipsychotic-induced weight gain (AIWG) is a major problem for the patients. AIWG increases cardiovascular and cerebrovascular morbidity and mortality, and reduces quality of life and drug compliance. To characterize changes in gene expression related to AIWG, we sequenced total messenger RNA from the blood samples of two groups of schizophrenia patients before and after 3 months of treatment with antipsychotics. The “weight gain” group was defined by an increase of body mass index (BMI) >1.5 points (18 patients; median BMI increase = 2.69) and the “no weight gain” group was defined by a change of BMI between <1.0 and >−1.0 points (18 patients; median BMI increase = 0.26). We found 115 genes with significant differential expression in the weight gain group before and after medication and 156 in the no weight gain group before and after medication. The weight gain group was significantly enriched with genes related to “obesity” and “BMI” (Fisher; p = 0.0002 and 0.01, respectively) according to the Gene Reference into Function (GeneRIF) database. In the no weight gain group, the enrichment was much smaller (Fisher; p = 0.02 and 0.79). This study is a first step toward detecting genetic factors that cause AIWG and to generating prediction tests in future studies with larger data sets.