Analyzing the effects of psychotropic drugs on metabolite profiles in rat brain using 1H NMR spectroscopy

Gerard A McLoughlin, Dan Ma, Tsz M Tsang, Declan N C Jones, Jackie Cilia, Mark D Hill, Melanie J Robbins, Isabel M Benzel, Peter R Maycox, Elaine Holmes, Sabine Bahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mechanism of action of standard drug treatments for psychiatric disorders remains fundamentally unknown, despite intensive investigation in academia and the pharmaceutical industry. So far, little is known about the effects of psychotropic medications on brain metabolism in either humans or animals. In this study, we investigated the effects of a range of psychotropic drugs on rat brain metabolites. The drugs investigated were haloperidol, clozapine, olanzapine, risperidone, aripiprazole (antipsychotics); valproate, carbamazapine (mood stabilizers) and phenytoin (antiepileptic drug). The relative concentrations of endogenous metabolites were determined using high-resolution proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) spectroscopy. The results revealed that different classes of psychotropic drugs modulated a range of metabolites, where each drug induced a distinct neurometabolic profile. Some common responses across several drugs or within a class of drug were also observed. Antipsychotic drugs and mood stabilizers, with the exception of olanzapine, consistently increased N-acetylaspartate (NAA) levels in at least one brain area, suggesting a common therapeutic response on increased neuronal viability. Most drugs also altered the levels of several metabolites associated with glucose metabolism, neurotransmission (including glutamate and aspartate) and inositols. The heterogenic pharmacological response reflects the functional and physiological diversity of the therapeutic interventions, including side effects. Further study of these metabolites in preclinical models should facilitate the development of novel drug treatments for psychiatric disorders with improved efficacy and side effect profiles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1943-1952
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009


  • Animals
  • Brain/drug effects
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Oligodendroglia/drug effects
  • Psychotropic Drugs/pharmacology
  • Rats


Dive into the research topics of 'Analyzing the effects of psychotropic drugs on metabolite profiles in rat brain using 1H NMR spectroscopy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this