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Antipsychotics increase steroidogenic enzyme gene expression in the rat brainstem

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  • K. Bogus
  • M. Żarczyńska
  • A. Pałasz
  • A. Suszka-Świtek
  • J.J. Worthington
  • M. Krzystanek
  • P. Żarczyński
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>28/02/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Molecular Biology Reports
Issue number2
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)1601-1608
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date19/11/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Background: Neurosteroids are involved in several important brain functions and have recently been considered novel players in the mechanic actions of neuropsychiatric drugs. There are no reports of murine studies focusing on the effect of chronic neurosteroid treatment in parallel with antipsychotics on key steroidogenic enzyme expression and we therefore focused on steroidogenic enzyme gene expression in the brainstem of rats chronically treated with olanzapine and haloperidol. Methods and results: Studies were carried out on adult, male Sprague–Dawley rats which were divided into 3 groups: control and experimental animals treated with olanzapine or haloperidol. Total mRNA was isolated from homogenized brainstem samples for RealTime-PCR to estimate gene expression of related aromatase, 3β-HSD and P450scc. Long-term treatment with the selected antipsychotics was reflected in the modulation of steroidogenic enzyme gene expression in the examined brainstem region; with both olanzapine and haloperidol increasing aromatase, 3β-HSD and P450scc gene expression. Conclusions: The present findings shed new light on the pharmacology of antipsychotics and suggest the existence of possible regulatory interplay between neuroleptic action and steroidogenesis at the level of brainstem neuronal centres.