Effects of single dose intranasal oxytocin on social cognition in schizophrenia

Department of Veterans Affairs VISN 22 MIRECC, Los Angeles, CA, United States.
Schizophrenia Research (Impact Factor: 4.43). 05/2013; 147(2-3). DOI: 10.1016/j.schres.2013.04.023
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Deficits in social cognition are common in schizophrenia and predict poor community functioning. Given the current limitations of psychosocial treatments and the lack of pharmacological treatments for social cognitive deficits, the development of novel therapeutic agents could greatly enhance functional recovery in schizophrenia. This study evaluated whether a single dose of intranasal oxytocin acutely improves social cognitive functioning in schizophrenia. Twenty-three male veterans with schizophrenia completed baseline assessments of social cognition that were divided into lower-level (facial affect perception, social perception, detection of lies) and higher-level (detection of sarcasm and deception, empathy) processes. One week later, patients received the same battery after being randomized to a single dose of 40IU intranasal oxytocin or placebo. Though the groups did not differ significantly on the social cognition composite score, oxytocin improved performance for the higher-level social cognitive tasks (Cohen's d=1.0, p=0.045). Subjects were unable to accurately guess which treatment they had received. The improvements found in higher-level social cognition encourage further studies into the therapeutic potential of oxytocin in schizophrenia.

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    • "Future studies assessing receptor function may be valuable in disentangling the meaning of the elevated plasma oxytocin levels. Despite these limitations , oxytocin may represent a novel therapeutic target in SZ given recent evidence for significant improvements in social cognition and social outcome following single or repeated intranasal administration (Feifel et al., 2010; Pedersen et al., 2011; Averbeck et al., 2012; Davis et al., 2013, 2014; Fischer-Shofty et al., 2013a,b; Gibson et al., 2014; Woolley et al., 2014). Table 2 Correlations between social cognition and plasma oxytocin levels. "
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    ABSTRACT: Lower endogenous levels of the neuropeptide oxytocin may be an important biological predictor of social cognition impairments in schizophrenia (SZ). Prior studies have demonstrated that lower-level social cognitive processes (e.g., facial affect perception) are significantly associated with reduced plasma oxytocin levels in SZ; however, it is unclear whether higher-level social cognition, which requires inferential processes and knowledge not directly presented in the stimulus, is associated with endogenous oxytocin. The current study explored the association between endogenous oxytocin levels and lower- and higher-level social cognition in 40 individuals diagnosed with SZ and 22 demographically matched healthy controls (CN). All participants received the Social Cue Recognition Test (SCRT), which presents participants with videotaped interpersonal vignettes and subsequent true/false questions related to concrete or abstract aspects of social interactions in the vignettes. Results indicated that SZ had significantly higher plasma oxytocin concentrations than CN. SZ and CN did not differ on SCRT hits, but SZ had more false positives and lower sensitivity scores than CN. Higher plasma oxytocin levels were associated with better sensitivity scores for abstract items in CN and fewer false positives for concrete items in individuals with SZ. Findings indicate that endogenous oxytocin levels predict accurate encoding of lower-level socially relevant information in SZ. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Schizophrenia Research 02/2015; 162(1-3). DOI:10.1016/j.schres.2015.01.034 · 4.43 Impact Factor
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    • "Recently, lower endogenous oxytocin levels have also been associated with poorer facial affect perception, particularly among females with SZ (Rubin et al., 2011). Intranasal administration of oxytocin has also been shown to improve several aspects of social cognition in SZ, including facial affect perception (Goldman et al., 2011; Pedersen et al., 2011; Averbeck et al., 2012; Davis et al., 2013, 2014; Fischer-Shofty et al., 2013; Gibson et al., 2014; Woolley et al., 2014). In SZ, aberrant oxytocin functioning may therefore be an important biological correlate of emotion perception abnormalities. "
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    ABSTRACT: Lower endogenous oxytocin levels have been associated with impaired social cognition in schizophrenia, particularly facial affect identification. Little is known about the relationship between oxytocin and other forms of emotion perception. In the current study, 41 individuals with schizophrenia (SZ) and 22 demographically matched healthy controls (CN) completed a forced-choice affective body expression classification task. Stimuli included dynamic videos of male and female actors portraying 4 discrete emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, and neutral. Plasma oxytocin levels were determined via radioimmunoassay. Results indicated that SZ had significantly higher plasma oxytocin concentrations than CN. SZ were also less accurate at identifying expressions of happiness and sadness; however, there were no group differences for anger or neutral stimuli. A group×sex interaction was also present, such that female CN were more accurate than male CN, whereas male SZ were more accurate than female SZ. Higher endogenous oxytocin levels were associated with better total recognition in both SZ and CN; this association was specific to females in SZ. Findings indicate that sex plays an important role in identifying emotional expressions in body gestures in SZ, and that individual differences in endogenous oxytocin predict emotion perception accuracy. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Schizophrenia Research 01/2015; 162(1-3). DOI:10.1016/j.schres.2015.01.022 · 4.43 Impact Factor
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    • "compare patients from various diagnostic catego - ries with a comparison group to draw conclusions about diagnostic specificity . Indeed , intranasal delivery of oxyto - cin has been shown to improve social cognition across the diagnostic and developmental continuum from youth with autism ( Guastella et al . , 2010 ) to adults with schizophrenia ( Davis et al . , 2013 ) . In addition , our findings suggest that oxytocin administration in conjunction with an experi - mental rejection paradigm can identify meaningful sub - groups of individuals that differ in attachment style . This not only has important implications for the nosology of severe social anxiety but also may contribute to the devel - opme"
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    ABSTRACT: Whereas the DSM categorizes individuals with similar self-reported symptoms, the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) offers a new approach for classifying mental disorders based on dimensions of observable behaviors and neurobiological measures. The objective of this proof-of-concept study is to adopt this approach by distinguishing individuals based on disorder-related personality traits during an experimental manipulation that targeted a disorder-related biological mechanism. Specifically, we examined whether attachment style moderated the effect of oxytocin administration on social behaviors and cognitions during a social exclusion test in individuals with social anxiety disorder. When receiving oxytocin compared to placebo, only individuals with low attachment avoidance displayed more social affiliation and cooperation, and only those with high attachment avoidance showed faster detection of disgust and neutral faces. Thus, attachment style moderated oxytocin's effects among individuals who shared the same DSM diagnosis. We conclude that neurobiological tests can inform new classification strategies by adopting an RDoC framework.
    11/2014; 2(6):740-747. DOI:10.1177/2167702614527948
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