Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Antipsychotic drug may be helpful treatment for anorexia nervosa

05.04.2012
Mouse model of anorexia offers opportunity to study drugs effective for disorder

Low doses of a commonly used atypical antipsychotic drug improved survival in a mouse model of anorexia nervosa, University of Chicago researchers report this month. The result offers promise for a common and occasionally fatal eating disorder that currently lacks approved drugs for treatment.

Mice treated with small doses of the drug olanzapine were more likely to maintain their weight when given an exercise wheel and restricted food access, conditions that produce activity-based anorexia (ABA) in animals. The antidepressant fluoxetine, commonly prescribed off-label for anorexic patients, did not improve survival in the experiment.

"We found over and over again that olanzapine was effective in harsher conditions, less harsh conditions, adolescents, adults — it consistently worked," said the paper's first author Stephanie Klenotich, graduate student in the Committee on Neurobiology at the University of Chicago Biological Sciences.

The study, published in Neuropsychopharmacology, was the product of a rare collaboration between laboratory scientists and clinicians seeking new treatment options for anorexia nervosa. As many as one percent of American women will suffer from anorexia nervosa during their lifetime, but only one-third of those people will receive treatment.

Patients with anorexia are often prescribed off-label use of drugs designed for other psychiatric conditions, but few studies have tested the drugs' effectiveness in animal models.

"Anorexia nervosa is the most deadly psychiatric disorder, and yet no approved pharmacological treatments exist," said Stephanie Dulawa, PhD, assistant professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago Medicine and senior author of the study. "One wonders why there isn't more basic science work being done to better understand the mechanisms and to identify novel pharmacological treatments."

One challenge is finding a medication that patients with anorexia nervosa will agree to take regularly, said co-author Daniel Le Grange, PhD, professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience and director of the Eating Disorders Clinic at the University of Chicago Medicine. Drugs that directly cause weight gain or carry strong sedative side effects are often rejected by patients.

"Patients are almost uniformly very skeptical and very reluctant to take any medication that could lower their resolve to refrain from eating," Le Grange said. "There are long-standing resistances, and I think researchers and clinicians have been very reluctant to embark on that course, since it's just littered with obstacles."

Both fluoxetine and olanzapine have been tried clinically to supplement interventions such as family-based treatment and cognitive-behavioral therapy. But their direct effect on anorexia nervosa behavior — in humans or animals — is lacking in sufficient data.

To test the effectiveness of these drugs in laboratory mice, Klenotich adapted the ABA protocol from previously published rat studies: Mice given 24-hour access to a running wheel but only six hours a day of food access become hyperactive, eat less and rapidly lose weight, with a 25 percent reduction from baseline considered to be the "drop-out" survival point.

In Klenotich's study, mice were pretreated with fluoxetine, olanzapine or saline before starting the ABA protocol, and treatment continued throughout the ABA period. Researchers then measured how many mice in each group reached the drop-out point for weight loss over 14 days of food restriction and exercise wheel access. Treatment with the antipsychotic olanzapine significantly increased survival over the control group, while fluoxetine treatment produced no significant effects on survival.

Importantly, a low dose of olanzapine did not decrease overall running activity in the mice, indicating that sedative effects of the drug were minimal. In future experiments, the researchers hope to use different drugs and genetic methods to determine exactly how olanzapine is effective against symptoms of anorexia nervosa, perhaps pointing toward a better drug without the negative image or side effects of an antipsychotic.

"We can dissect the effect of olanzapine and hopefully identify the mechanisms of action, and identify what receptor systems we want to target," Klenotich said. "Hopefully, we can develop a newer drug that we can aim towards the eating disorders clinic as an anorexic-specific drug that might be a little more acceptable to patients."

The study offers support for the clinical use of olanzapine, for which clinical trials are already under way to test in patients. Le Grange said the development of a pharmacological variant that more selectively treats anorexia nervosa could be a helpful way to avoid the "stigma" of taking an antipsychotic while giving clinicians an additional tool for helping patients.

"I think the clinical field is certainly very ready for something that is going to make a difference," Le Grange said. "I'm not saying there's a 'magic pill' for anorexia nervosa, but we have been lacking any pharmacological agent that clearly contributes to the recovery of our patients. Many parents and many clinicians are looking for that, because it would make our job so much easier if there was something that could turn symptoms around and speed up recovery."

Additionally, the study demonstrated the innovative experimental design and translational results that can come from a collaboration of laboratory and clinical experts.

"We don't talk to one another often enough in basic science and clinical science," Le Grange said. "More of that would be helpful for clinicians to understand the neurobiology of this disease. I'm very excited about the way this project is going, and I think it's going to be clinically very informative."

The paper, "Olanzapine, but not fluoxetine, treatment increases survival in activity-based anorexia in mice," was published online March 7 by Neuropsychopharmacology (doi: 10.1038/npp.2012.7). In addition to Klenotich, Dulawa and Le Grange, authors include Mariel Seiglie and Priya Dugad of the University of Chicago and Matthew S. McMurray and Jamie Roitman of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Funding for the research was provided by the National Institute of Mental Health.

For more news from the University of Chicago Medical Center, follow us on Twitter at @UChicagoMed, or visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/UChicagoMed, our research blog at sciencelife.uchospitals.edu, or our newsroom at uchospitals.edu/news.

Robert Mitchum | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uchospitals.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Speed data for the brain’s navigation system
06.12.2016 | Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen e.V. (DZNE)

nachricht Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Simple processing technique could cut cost of organic PV and wearable electronics

06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

3-D printed kidney phantoms aid nuclear medicine dosing calibration

06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Robot on demand: Mobile machining of aircraft components with high precision

06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>