Menstrual cycle-related changes in plasma oxytocin are relevant to normal sexual function in healthy women.
ABSTRACT Circulating levels of the neuro-hypophysial nonapeptide oxytocin increase during sexual arousal and orgasm in both men and women. A few studies have evaluated the effect of the menstrual cycle on plasma oxytocin in normally cycling, sexually active, healthy fertile women using or not using contraceptive pills. In 20 ovulating women and 10 women taking an oral contraceptive (group 1 and group 2, respectively), sexual function, hormonal profile, and plasma oxytocin (OT) were evaluated throughout the menstrual cycle. In group 1, plasma OT was significantly lower during the luteal phase in comparison with both the follicular and ovulatory phases. Plasma oxytocin was significantly correlated with the lubrication domain of the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) during the luteal phase and showed a trend towards statistical significance during the follicular phase. In group 2, plasma OT did not show any significant fluctuation throughout the menstrual cycle, even though a significant correlation was evident with both the arousal and the lubrication domain of the FSFI during the assumption of the contraceptive pill. These findings suggest that plasma OT fluctuates throughout the menstrual cycle in normally cycling healthy fertile women with adequate sexual activity but not taking any oral contraceptive pill. Moreover, plasma OT levels significantly relates to the genital lubrication in both women taking and not taking oral contraceptive pill apparently confirming its role in peripheral activation of sexual function.
SourceAvailable from: Roberta AgabioRheumatology International 01/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00296-014-3200-2 · 1.63 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Olfaction plays an important role in mammalian social behavior. Olfactory deficits are common in schizophrenia and correlate with negative symptoms and low social drive. Despite their prominence and possible clinical relevance, little is understood about the pathological mechanisms underlying olfactory deficits in schizophrenia and there are currently no effective treatments for these deficits. The prosocial neuropeptide oxytocin may affect the olfactory system when administered intranasally to humans and there is growing interest in its therapeutic potential in schizophrenia. To examine this model, we administered 40IU of oxytocin and placebo intranasally to 31 patients with a schizophrenia spectrum illness and 34 age-matched healthy control participants in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study. On each test day, participants completed an olfactory detection threshold test for two different odors: (1) lyral, a synthetic fragrance compound for which patients with schizophrenia have specific olfactory detection threshold deficits, possibly related to decreased cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cAMP) signaling; and (2) anise, a compound for which olfactory detection thresholds change with menstrual cycle phase in women. On the placebo test day, patients with schizophrenia did not significantly differ from healthy controls in detection of either odor. We found that oxytocin administration significantly and selectively improved olfactory detection thresholds for lyral but not for anise in patients with schizophrenia. In contrast, oxytocin had no effect on detection of either odor in healthy controls. Our data indicate that oxytocin administration may ameliorate olfactory deficits in schizophrenia and suggest the effects of intranasal oxytocin may extend to influencing the olfactory system. Given that oxytocin has been found to increase cAMP signaling in vitro a possible mechanism for these effects is discussed. Published by Elsevier Ltd.Psychoneuroendocrinology 01/2015; 53C:217-222. DOI:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.12.018 · 5.59 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Objective: Patients with chronic depression (CD) experience a high burden of disease, severe comorbidity, and increased mortality. Although interpersonal dysfunction is a hallmark of CD, the underlying mechanisms are largely unexplored. Oxytocin (OT) has been proposed to play a crucial role in the social deficits of mental disorders and has been found to be dysregulated after social exclusion (ostracism) in patients with borderline personality disorder. This study investigated how social exclusion affects emotions, OT levels, and cortisol (CT) levels in CD patients. Method: Twenty-one patients diagnosed with CD and 21 healthy controls (HC) matched for gender, age, and education underwent repeated neuroendocrine measurements in a standardized laboratory setting while playing Cyberball, a virtual ball-tossing game that mimics a social exclusion situation. Emotional reactions, plasma OT and cortisol levels were assessed at baseline and 5, 15, and 40 min after Cyberball. Results: At baseline, there were no group differences in OT levels. Immediately after playing Cyberball, plasma OT levels showed divergent changes in CD patients and HC; the difference in direction of change was significant with a reduction in CD patients compared to HC (p = .035*); CT levels did not differ between groups at any time point, but decreased over time. Patients showed more threatened emotional needs and increased negative emotions, especially anger and resentment, and showed higher sensitivity to ambiguous threat of social exclusion than healthy controls. Conclusions: CD patients react to ostracism with pronounced negative emotions. The reduction in OT levels in CD patients after social exclusion may contribute to their interpersonal dysfunction and their difficulty in coping adequately with aversive social cues.Journal of Psychiatric Research 11/2014; 60. DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.11.001 · 4.09 Impact Factor