Oxytocin induces long-term changes in, for example, blood pressure, spontaneous motor activity and corticosterone levels in rats. Previous studies in male rats have suggested a role for alpha(2)-adrenoceptors within the central nervous system in these effects. The aim of the present study was to investigate if oxytocin treatment in female rats would influence alpha(2)-adrenoceptors within the hypothalamus, the amygdala and the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS). For this purpose, female ovariectomized (OVX) rats were treated with oxytocin (1 mg/kg s.c.) or saline once a day for 10 days. Rats were decapitated 5 days after the last injection, and brains and plasma were collected. Quantitative receptor autoradiography for characterization of high affinity alpha(2)-adrenoceptor agonist binding and radioimmunoassay for corticosterone were performed. Oxytocin increased the B(max) values of the alpha(2)-adrenoceptor agonist [3H]UK14.304 binding sites significantly in all the analyzed areas (P<0.05). K(d) values were unchanged. Plasma levels of corticosterone were significantly decreased in the oxytocin-treated rats (P<0.05). These findings are in further support of an interaction between oxytocin receptors and alpha(2)-adrenoceptors and show that oxytocin treatment may increase alpha(2)-adrenoceptor recognition probably leading to an increase in alpha(2)-adrenoceptor signaling in several parts of the brain.
"Oxytocin can induce anti-stress-like effects such as reduction of blood pressure and cortisol levels. It increases pain thresholds, exerts an anxiolytic-like effect and stimulates various types of positive social interactions (Uvnas-Moberg and Petersson, 2005). It has been indicated as a " cuddle " transmitter. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article is focused on understanding the mechanisms for the interactions between the central catecholamine (CA) and oxytocin (OXY) neurons and their relevance for brain function especially social behaviour in the field of pair bonding. Such a topic is analysed under two perspectives namely the intercellular communication modes between CA and OXT neurons and the molecular integrative mechanisms at the plasma membrane level between their respective decoding systems. As a matter of fact, recent observations strongly indicate a major role of volume transmission and receptor-receptor interactions in the CA/OXT neuron interplay in the brain control of social behaviour and pair bonding. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Brain Integration.
Brain research 02/2012; 1476:119-31. DOI:10.1016/j.brainres.2012.01.062 · 2.84 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of the present thesis was to investigate hormonal and physiological effects in mothers during a breastfeeding session and in dogs and their owners in response to short-term interaction. In study one, sixty-six mothers receiving either exogenous oxytocin infusion and/or epidural analgesia (EDA) during labor or intramuscular oxytocin injection post partum were studied. Oxytocin, prolactin, adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol levels, as well as blood pressure were measured during a breastfeeding session two days after birth. In response to breastfeeding two days after birth, the mothers displayed a pulsatile release of oxytocin and increasing prolactin levels. In addition, the activity in the HPA-axis was reduced and maternal blood pressure decreased. The results also show that EDA administration in combination with oxytocin during labor resulted in significantly lower oxytocin levels and higher cortisol levels, as well as higher blood pressure in response to breastfeeding two days after birth, compared to EDA administration alone. In addition, oxytocin infusions dose-dependently lowered the mothers’ endogenous oxytocin levels two days after birth. In study two, ten female dog owners and their male Labrador dogs participated, together with ten controls. Their levels of oxytocin, cortisol and insulin, as well as their heart rate, were measured. The connection between the quality of the dog-owner relationship and hormone levels was also explored. Short-term interaction between dogs and their owners resulted in oxytocin release in both species and their cortisol levels and heart rate were also affected. Oxytocin levels and positive attitudes regarding the dog-owner relationship were positively correlated. In conclusion, both human-human and human-animal interactions induce oxytocin release and promote oxytocin mediated effects, such as decreasing cortisol levels and blood pressure. In addition, social interaction and oxytocin levels are positively related.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are male-biased and characterized by deficits in social behavior and social communication, excessive anxiety or hyperreactivity to stressful experiences, and a tendency toward repetitiveness. The purpose of this review is to consider evidence for a role for two sexually dimorphic neuropeptides, oxytocin (OT) and arginine vasopressin (VP), in these features of ASD. Both VP and OT play a role in normal development. VP is androgen-dependent and of particular importance to male behavior. Excess VP or disruptions in the VP system could contribute to the male vulnerability to ASD. Alternatively, protective processes mediated via OT or the OT receptor might help to explain the relatively rare occurrence of ASD in females. Disruptions in either OT or VP or their receptors could result from genetic variation or epigenetic modifications of gene expression, especially during early development. Deficits in other developmental growth factors, such as reelin, which may in turn regulate or be regulated by OT or VP, are additional candidates for a role in ASD.
Behavioural Brain Research 02/2007; 176(1):170-86. DOI:10.1016/j.bbr.2006.08.025 · 3.03 Impact Factor
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