UNE researchers link antipsychotic drugs to cardiac side effects

Megan Beauchemin with her poster
Megan Beauchemin with her poster, “Acute treatment with the antipsychotic drug, risperidone, alters brain activity and circadian rhythms in the heart”

May 12, 2017

Researchers from the Houseknecht laboratory at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine participated in the annual Costas T. Lambrew Maine Medical Center Research Retreat on May 2, 2017 at Maine Medical Center in Portland. 

The lab, run by Karen Houseknecht, Ph.D., focuses on the regulation of mood and metabolism and specifically the role of psychiatric medications in modulating metabolic status.

Megan Beauchemin, Ph.D., Post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory, presented a poster titled, “Acute treatment with the antipsychotic drug, risperidone, alters brain activity and circadian rhythms in the heart.”  The poster was awarded second place in the Basic Science category for scientific presentations. This work shows for the first time that antipsychotic medications activate areas in the brain associated with regulation of circadian function and also alter the expression of circadian genes in the heart. 

Houseknecht, senior author on the work, proposes that these data suggest that antipsychotic medications, which are widely prescribed off-label to vulnerable populations including children, may cause early effects on cardiac function that have been previously undetected.

Collaborators on this work include Katie Motyl, Ph.D., and Anyonya Guntur, Ph.D., of the Department of Molecular Medicine at Maine Medical Center Research Institute; Deborah Barlow, Ph.D., technician in the Houseknecht lab; Celeste Bouchard (UNE COM 2020) and Peter Caradonna of the Histology and Imaging Core in the UNE Center of Biomedical Research Excellence for the Study of Pain and Sensory Function (COBRE).

To learn more about the University of New England’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, visit www.une.edu/com

To apply, visit www.une.edu/admissions

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