Chronic Aripiprazole and Trazodone Polypharmacy Effects on Systemic and Brain Cholesterol Biosynthesis

Zeljka Korade, Allison Anderson, Marta Balog, Keri A. Tallman, Ned A. Porter, Karoly Mirnics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The concurrent use of several medications is a common practice in the treatment of complex psychiatric conditions. One such commonly used combination is aripiprazole (ARI), an antipsychotic, and trazodone (TRZ), an antidepressant. In addition to their effects on dopamine and serotonin systems, both of these compounds are inhibitors of the 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase (DHCR7) enzyme. To evaluate the systemic and nervous system distribution of ARI and TRZ and their effects on cholesterol biosynthesis, adult mice were treated with both ARI and TRZ for 21 days. The parent drugs, their metabolites, and sterols were analyzed in the brain and various organs of mice using LC-MS/MS. The analyses revealed that ARI, TRZ, and their metabolites were readily detectable in the brain and organs, leading to changes in the sterol profile. The levels of medications, their metabolites, and sterols differed across tissues with notable sex differences. Female mice showed higher turnover of ARI and more cholesterol clearance in the brain, with several post-lanosterol intermediates significantly altered. In addition to interfering with sterol biosynthesis, ARI and TRZ exposure led to decreased ionized calcium-binding adaptor molecule 1 (IBA1) and increased DHCR7 protein expression in the cortex. Changes in sterol profile have been also identified in the spleen, liver, and serum, underscoring the systemic effect of ARI and TRZ on sterol biosynthesis. Long-term use of concurrent ARI and TRZ warrants further studies to fully evaluate the lasting consequences of altered sterol biosynthesis on the whole body.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1321
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • 7-dehydrocholesterol
  • DHCR7
  • IBA1
  • aripiprazole (ARI)
  • desmosterol
  • trazodone (TRZ)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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