Promoting social behavior with oxytocin in high-functioning autism spectrum disorder. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Centre de Neuroscience Cognitive, Unité Mixte de Recherche 5229, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 69675 Bron, France.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.67). 02/2010; 107(9):4389-94. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0910249107
Source: PubMed


Social adaptation requires specific cognitive and emotional competences. Individuals with high-functioning autism or with Asperger syndrome cannot understand or engage in social situations despite preserved intellectual abilities. Recently, it has been suggested that oxytocin, a hormone known to promote mother-infant bonds, may be implicated in the social deficit of autism. We investigated the behavioral effects of oxytocin in 13 subjects with autism. In a simulated ball game where participants interacted with fictitious partners, we found that after oxytocin inhalation, patients exhibited stronger interactions with the most socially cooperative partner and reported enhanced feelings of trust and preference. Also, during free viewing of pictures of faces, oxytocin selectively increased patients' gazing time on the socially informative region of the face, namely the eyes. Thus, under oxytocin, patients respond more strongly to others and exhibit more appropriate social behavior and affect, suggesting a therapeutic potential of oxytocin through its action on a core dimension of autism.

Download full-text


Available from: Tiziana Zalla, Nov 29, 2014
  • Source
    • "It has been recently observed that IN-OT facilitates extinction of conditioned fear in healthy subjects (Eckstein et al., 2015). Also, IN-OT is more beneficial for some individuals than others within healthy and ASD populations (Andari et al., 2010; Bartz et al., 2010; Marsh et al., 2012; Riem et al., 2014) and some studies include hypotheses and outcome measures that represent oxytocin's effects and its function better than others. More research on how individual social aptitudes and emotional regulation, clinical characteristics, receptor distribution and genetic polymorphisms can affect the social outcome of oxytocin-based treatments is needed. "

    Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 09/2015; 9:224. DOI:10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00224 · 3.27 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Among the recent and still experimental ones we highlight intranasal oxytocin and the Early Start Denver Model (all reviewed in Canitano, 2014). Intranasal oxytocin has been shown to increase patients' gaze fixation on the most socially informative regions of the face and to increase interactions with partners and feelings of trust in an experimental paradigm (Andari et al., 2010). In fact, a systematic review of seven studies evaluating oxytocin interventions in ASD found significant effects in all studies but one (Preti et al., 2014). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Being socially connected directly impacts our basic needs and survival. People with deficits in social cognition might exhibit abnormal behaviors and face many challenges in our highly social-dependent world. These challenges and limitations are associated with a substantial economical and subjective impact. As many conditions where social cognition is affected are highly prevalent, more treatments have to be developed. Based on recent research, we review studies where non-invasive neuromodulatory techniques have been used to promote Social Plasticity in developmental disorders. We focused on three populations where non-invasive brain stimulation seems to be a promising approach in inducing social plasticity: Schizophrenia, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Williams Syndrome (WS). There are still very few studies directly evaluating the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in the social cognition of these populations. However, when considering the promising preliminary evidences presented in this review and the limited amount of clinical interventions available for treating social cognition deficits in these populations today, it is clear that the social neuroscientist arsenal may profit from non-invasive brain stimulation techniques for rehabilitation and promotion of social plasticity.
    Frontiers in Neuroscience 09/2015; 9. DOI:10.3389/fnins.2015.00294 · 3.66 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "was the weather like ? ) . The number of the throws to the PosC face and to the NegC face has been used as measures of induced prosocial behaviour . The perform - ance on this task has already been shown to be corre - lated with social preference and prosocial behaviour [ Andari et al . , 2010 ; Riem et al . , 2013 ] ."
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A deficit in empathy has been suggested to underlie social behavioural atypicalities in autism. A parallel theoretical account proposes that reduced social motivation (i.e., low responsivity to social rewards) can account for the said atypicalities. Recent evidence suggests that autistic traits modulate the link between reward and proxy metrics related to empathy. Using an evaluative conditioning paradigm to associate high and low rewards with faces, a previous study has shown that individuals high in autistic traits show reduced spontaneous facial mimicry of faces associated with high vs. low reward. This observation raises the possibility that autistic traits modulate the magnitude of evaluative conditioning. To test this, we investigated (a) if autistic traits could modulate the ability to implicitly associate a reward value to a social stimulus (reward learning/conditioning, using the Implicit Association Task, IAT); (b) if the learned association could modulate participants' prosocial behaviour (i.e., social reciprocity, measured using the cyberball task); (c) if the strength of this modulation was influenced by autistic traits. In 43 neurotypical participants, we found that autistic traits moderated the relationship of social reward learning on prosocial behaviour but not reward learning itself. This evidence suggests that while autistic traits do not directly influence social reward learning, they modulate the relationship of social rewards with prosocial behaviour. Autism Res 2015. © 2015 The Authors Autism Research published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Society for Autism Research. © 2015 The Authors Autism Research published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Society for Autism Research.
    Autism Research 08/2015; DOI:10.1002/aur.1523 · 4.33 Impact Factor
Show more