Carol Sue Carter

Carol Sue Carter
Indiana University Bloomington | IUB · Department of Biology

PhD

About

340
Publications
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Publications

Publications (340)
Article
The roles of oxytocin (OT) and arginine-vasopressin (AVP) as crucial modulators of social cognition and related behaviours have been extensively addressed in the literature. The involvement of these neuropeptides in social cognition in ageing, however, and a potential mediating effect of basic cognitive capacities on this link, are not well underst...
Article
Oxytocin (OT) and the OT receptor occupy essential roles in our current understanding of mammalian evolution, survival, sociality and reproduction. This narrative review examines the hypothesis that many functions attributed to OT can be traced back to conditions on early Earth, including challenges associated with managing life in the presence of...
Article
Oxytocin has become a popular analyte in behavioral endocrinology in recent years, due in part to its roles in social behavior, stress physiology, and cognition. Urine samples have the advantage of being non-invasive and minimally disruptive to collect, allowing for oxytocin measurements even in some wild populations. However, methods for urinary o...
Preprint
Birth is a critical period for the developing brain, a time when surging hormone levels help prepare the fetal brain for the tremendous physiological changes it must accomplish upon entry into the extrauterine world. A number of obstetrical conditions warrant manipulations of these hormones at the time of birth, but we know little of their possible...
Preprint
Cesarean delivery is associated with diminished plasma levels of several birth-signaling hormones, such as oxytocin and vasopressin. These same hormones have been previously shown to exert organizational effects when acting in early life. For example, our previous work found a broadly gregarious phenotype in prairie voles exposed to oxytocin at bir...
Article
Objective: To compare maternal psychological well-being, newborn behavior, and maternal and newborn salivary oxytocin (OT) and cortisol before and after two maternally administered multisensory behavioral interventions or an attention control group. Design: Randomized prospective clinical trial. Setting: U.S. Midwest community hospital. Parti...
Preprint
Full-text available
Oxytocin has become a popular analyte in behavioral endocrinology in recent years, due in part to its roles in social behavior, stress physiology, and cognition. Urine samples have the advantage of being non-invasive and minimally disruptive to collect, allowing for oxytocin measurements even in some wild populations. However, methods for urinary o...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Human and nonhuman animal research suggests that greater oxytocin (OT) activity is protective against harmful substance use. Most research on this topic is preclinical, with few studies evaluating the association between substance use and individual differences in the human OT system. The present study sought to fill this gap by evalua...
Article
Social isolation influences depression- and anxiety-related disorders and altered cardiac function. Oxytocin may mediate these conditions through interactions with social behavior, emotion, and cardiovascular function, via central and/or peripheral mechanisms. The present study investigated the influence of oxytocin antagonism using L-368,899, a se...
Article
Full-text available
Background The neuropeptide oxytocin regulates mammalian social behavior. Disruptions in oxytocin signaling are a feature of many psychopathologies. One commonly studied biomarker for oxytocin involvement in psychiatric diseases is DNA methylation at the oxytocin receptor gene ( OXTR ). Such studies focus on DNA methylation in two regions of OXTR ,...
Article
Positive social experiences may induce oxytocin release. However, previous studies of moral elevation have generally utilized cross-sectional and simple modeling approaches to establish the relationship between oxytocin and emotional stimuli. Utilizing a cohort of 30 non-lactating women (aged 23.6 ± 5.7 years), we tested whether exposure to a video...
Article
Oxytocin has garnered much interest due to its role in affective states, social behaviors, and diverse physiological functions. However, approaches for measuring endogenous oxytocin concentrations have generated considerable controversy and debate. Common procedures for measuring oxytocin often produce uncorrelated results, and the detected concent...
Article
The role of oxytocin (OT) in close relationships is complex, as both positive and negative associations have been found between OT and relationship processes. Also, with most research focusing on the effects of exogenous OT administration on communication and couple behaviors, our knowledge about the association between endogenous OT and couple dyn...
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Full-text available
Oxytocin is a pleiotropic, peptide hormone with broad implications for general health, ad-aptation, development, reproduction, and social behavior. Endogenous oxytocin and stimulation of the oxytocin receptor support patterns of growth, resilience, and healing. Oxytocin can function as a stress-coping molecule, an anti-inflammatory, and an antioxid...
Article
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We are presenting this document to medical providers as a systematic approach to improve outcomes of patients with COVID-19. The following variables are considered: Autonomic nervous system viewed from the perspective of the Polyvagal Theory; Timing of interventions in terms of phase of the body’s defense (Fight, Flight, Freeze, Faint); The nervous...
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Background: The cesarean birth rate in the United States is 32%, and there is discussion about the cause of high surgical birth rates. Our purpose was to determine whether mode of birth is influenced by maternal, nurse, and system factors. Methods: Secondary analysis of a data set of 163 women having postdates labor induction with oxytocin. Kapl...
Article
Full-text available
After comparing the morbidity patterns of COViD-19 infections, variations of oxytocin levels and some properties of the neurohormone oxytocin, the authors put forward their hypothesis that oxytocin might constitute a safe, inexpensive and readily available treatment for this disease.
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Full-text available
Researchers have endeavored to subclassify depressive illness based on pathophysiological mechanism. One model relates to hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis overactivation with a shift from corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) driven regulation to arginine vasopressin (AVP) driven regulation. Given the mixed literature, we compared plasma A...
Preprint
Full-text available
Open Access after comparing the morbidity patterns of cOViD-19 infections, variations of oxytocin levels and some properties of the neurohormone oxytocin, the authors put forward their hypothesis that oxytocin might constitute a safe, inexpensive and readily available treatment for this disease.
Article
Full-text available
Optimal maternal caregiving is critical for children’s healthy development, yet quality of maternal caregiving may be influenced by a negative birth experience. We examined whether the birth experience was associated with maternal caregiving attitudes and behavior throughout the first year. We conducted secondary analysis of the Avon Longitudinal S...
Article
Background: Negative outcomes related to prematurity may lead to maternal distress. Mothers of premature/low birth-weight infants report increased posttraumatic stress (50%) and depressive symptoms (63%) compared with mothers of full-term infants. Low-income, minority mothers with greater posttraumatic stress and depression have an increased risk...
Article
A growing literature associates the neuropeptides oxytocin (OT) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) with affiliative and cognitive outcomes. The majority of this work in humans, however, considers these neuropeptides separately. Also, despite evidence that OT and AVP interact with gonadal hormones, still warranted is an examination of sex and age variat...
Article
The prairie vole has proven a valuable animal model for the neurobiological study of social monogamy and pair bonding. Previous research has focused almost exclusively on virgin prairie voles forming pair-bonds for the first time - a paradigm with limited relevance to human social behavior. In the present study, we used stud males to assess the imp...
Article
Full-text available
Oxytocin is used in approximately half of all births in the United States during labor induction and/or augmentation. However, the effects of maternal oxytocin administration on offspring development have not been fully characterized. Here, we used the socially monogamous prairie vole to examine the hypothesis that oxytocin exposure at birth can ha...
Article
Since its discovery more than a century ago, oxytocin has become one of the most intensively studied molecules in behavioral biology. In the last five years, Psychoneuroendocrinology has published more than 500 articles with oxytocin in the title, with many of these articles including measures of endogenous oxytocin concentrations. Despite longstan...
Article
Background: Maternal milk production requires the neuropeptide oxytocin. Individual variation in oxytocin function is a compelling target for understanding low milk production, a leading cause of breastfeeding attrition. Complicating the understanding of oxytocin pathways is that vasopressin may interact with oxytocin receptors, yet little is know...
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Full-text available
Genetic monogamy is rare—at least at the level of a species—and monogamy can exist in the absence of sexual fidelity. Rather than focusing on mating exclusivity, it has become common to use the term “social monogamy” to describe a cluster of social features, including the capacity for selective and lasting social bonds, central to what humans call...
Article
Mammalian sociality is regulated in part by the neuropeptide oxytocin. In prairie voles, subtle variation in early life experience changes oxytocin receptor-mediated social behaviors. We report that low levels of early care in voles leads to de novo DNA methylation at specific regulatory sites in the oxytocin receptor gene (Oxtr), impacting gene ex...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Oxytocin (OT) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) exert sexually dimorphic effects on cognition and emotion processing. Abnormalities in these hormones are observed in schizophrenia and may contribute to multiple established sex differences associated with the disorder. Here we examined sex-dependent hormone associations with resting brain...
Article
It is well-known that the neuropeptide oxytocin plays a critical role regulating the formation of adult-adult pairbonds in non-human animals, and recent work suggests oxytocin may similarly play an important role in romantic bonding in humans. Specifically, endogenous oxytocin is predictive of a host of relationship-enhancing behaviors, relationshi...
Article
Background: Oxytocin is a neuropeptide associated with maternal behavior. However the mechanisms underlying this link remain unclear. In a previous study we observed an indirect effect of increased plasma oxytocin during late pregnancy on early postpartum maternal interactive behavior via theory of mind, as assessed by the Reading the Mind in the...
Article
The neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) has been implicated in a wide range of affiliative processes. OT exerts its functions via OT receptors, which are encoded by the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR). Epigenetic modification of OXTR through the process of DNA methylation has been associated with individual differences in behavioral phenotypes. Specifically,...
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Full-text available
Vasopressin (VP) and oxytocin (OT) are distinct molecules; these peptides and their receptors [OT receptor (OTR) and V1a receptor (V1aR)] also are evolved components of an integrated and adaptive system, here described as the OT–VP pathway. The more ancient peptide, VP, and the V1aRs support individual survival and play a role in defensive behavior...
Article
Purpose of review: PWS is a severe developmental disability for which there is no known treatment. The oxytocin system is currently a primary target for intervention. The aim of this article is to review the evidence for the efficacy of intranasal oxytocin in PWS. Recent findings: To date, there have been five clinical trials of oxytocin in PWS....
Article
Selective relationships and attachments are central to human health and well-being, both in current societies and during the course of evolution. The presence or absence of social bonds has consequences across the lifespan. The neurobiology of attachment is grounded in neuroendocrine substrates that are shared with reproduction and survival. Experi...
Article
Background Oxytocin is anxiolytic, and administration of synthetic oxytocin in humans reduces amygdala reactivity to negative stimuli. However, it is unknown whether endogenous oxytocin levels—which are heritable and stable across time—attenuate anxiety via similar mechanisms. Methods In this study, we used plasma assays and structural and functio...
Article
Full-text available
Aggressive behavior in dogs poses public health and animal welfare concerns, however the biological mechanisms regulating dog aggression are not well understood. We investigated the relationships between endogenous plasma oxytocin (OT) and vasopressin (AVP)—neuropeptides that have been linked to affiliative and aggressive behavior in other mammalia...
Article
Background: Oxytocin (OT) and Vasopressin (AVP) are phylogenetically conserved neuropeptides with effects on social behavior, cognition and stress responses. Although OT and AVP are most commonly measured in blood, urine and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), these approaches present an array of challenges including concerns related to the invasiveness of...
Article
Full-text available
Oxytocin (OT) and vasopressin (AVP) are neuropeptides with diverse effects on social behavior, cognition and stress responses. Recent studies suggest that OT facilitates and responds to affiliative forms of human–animal interaction (HAI). However, previous studies measuring OT and AVP in dogs have been limited to measures from blood or urine, which...
Chapter
A small, but powerful neuropeptide, oxytocin coordinates processes that are central to both human reproduction and human evolution. Also embedded in the evolution of the human nervous system are unique pathways necessary for modern human sociality and cognition. Oxytocin is necessary for facilitating the birth process, especially in light of anatom...
Article
A series of vasopressin receptor V1a ligands have been synthesized for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. The lead compound (1S,5R)-1 ((4-(1H-indol-3-yl)-3-methoxyphenyl) ((1S,5R)-1,3,3-trimethyl-6-azabicyclo[3.2.1]octan-6-yl)methanone) and its F-ethyl analog 6c exhibited the best combination of high binding affinity and optimal lipophilic...
Preprint
Aggressive behavior in dogs poses public health and animal welfare concerns, however the biological mechanisms regulating dog aggression are not well understood. We investigated the relationships between endogenous plasma oxytocin (OT) and vasopressin (AVP) – neuropeptides that have been linked to affiliative and aggressive behavior in other mammal...
Preprint
Oxytocin (OT) and Vasopressin (AVP) are neuropeptides with diverse effects on social behavior, cognition and stress responses. Recent studies suggest that OT facilitates and responds to affiliative forms of human-animal interaction (HAI). However, previous studies measuring OT and AVP in dogs have been limited to measures from blood or urine, which...
Preprint
Background Oxytocin (OT) and Vasopressin (AVP) are phylogenetically conserved neuropeptides with effects on social behavior, cognition and stress responses. Although OT and AVP are most commonly measured in blood, urine and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), these approaches present an array of challenges including concerns related to the invasiveness of s...
Article
Objective: To evaluate whether oxytocin titration for postdate labor induction differs among women who are normal weight, overweight, and obese and whether length of labor and birth method differ by oxytocin titration and body mass index (BMI). Design: Retrospective cohort study. Setting: U.S. university-affiliated hospital. Participants: Of...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Neuroendocrine factors may contribute to the etiology, cognitive and clinical symptom severity, and treatment response in schizophrenia. Very few studies to date focus on midlife women, a subgroup of patients that may be particularly vulnerable to both cognitive and symptom exacerbations as they experience menopause-related hormonal cha...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Oxytocin (OT) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) exert sexually dimorphic effects on cognition and emotion processing in healthy individuals. Abnormalities in these neuroendocrine systems are observed in schizophrenia and may contribute to deficits in cognition and emotion processing in a sex-dependent manner. Here we examined sex-dependent...
Article
Full-text available
Oxytocin (OT) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) exert robust and sexually dimorphic influences on cognition and emotion. How these hormones regulate relevant functional brain systems is not well understood. OT and AVP serum concentrations were assayed in 60 healthy individuals (36 women). Brain functional networks assessed with resting-state functiona...
Chapter
Positive social interactions, including affiliations and social bonds, dominate the behavioral repertoire of humans and many higher vertebrates. The purpose of this chapter is to examine – in the context of phylogeny, ontogeny, and clinical implications – mechanisms underlying social affiliation and social bonds drawing primarily from research in r...
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Full-text available
Alloparenting, defined as care provided by individuals other than parents, is a universal behavior among humans that has shaped our evolutionary history and remains important in contemporary society. Dysfunctions in alloparenting can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences for vulnerable infants and children. In spite of the importance of all...
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We examined plasma oxytocin concentration and postpartum depression (PPD) symptom severity in women who were not depressed during pregnancy and whether this differed by major depressive disorder (MDD) history. We assessed psychiatric history and plasma oxytocin in 66 healthy pregnant women in the third trimester (M = 35 ± 3 weeks) and depressive sy...
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Full-text available
The advancement of neuroscience depends on continued improvement in methods and models. Here, we present novel techniques for the use of awake functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) — an important step forward in minimally-invasive measurement of neural activity in a non-traditional animal model. Ima...
Article
The neuropeptide oxytocin (OXT) facilitates prosocial behavior and selective sociality. In the context of stress, OXT also can down-regulate hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity, leading to consideration of OXT as a potential treatment for many socioaffective disorders. However, the mechanisms through which administration of exogenous...
Article
Chronic stressors are generally considered to disrupt reproduction and inhibit mating. Here we test the hypothesis that a chronic stressor, specifically social isolation, can facilitate adaptive changes that enhance/accelerate reproductive effort. In general, monogamous species display high levels of prosociality, delayed sexual maturation, and gre...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Synthetic oxytocin (synOT) is commonly used in labor management to induce and augment labor, and to prevent postpartum hemorrhage. However, its long-term consequences for maternal health and behavior are largely understudied. We examined the relationship between synOT and maternal oxytocin levels, breastfeeding, and maternal mental hea...
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Background: The oxytocin (OT) system, including receptor epigenetic mechanisms, has been shown to influence emotion processing, especially in females. Whether OT receptor (OXTR) epigenetic alterations occur across psychotic disorders in relation to illness-related disturbances in social cognition and brain anatomy is unknown. Methods: Participan...
Article
Full-text available
In the USA, 11.38% of infants are born prematurely with over 300,000 infants born low-birth weight. Mothers of premature infants are at greater risk for postpartum posttraumatic stress and depressive symptoms. Variation in the neuropeptide oxytocin has been implicated in perinatal depression, maternal behavior, and regulation of stress responses. T...
Article
The neuropeptides oxytocin and vasopressin have been implicated in exercise, as well as monogamy and parental behavior. In this study, we compared behavioral and neuroendocrine effects of access to an exercise wheel versus the sedentary state typical in lab animal housing. Male prairie voles ( Microtus ochrogaster) were studied because of their ext...
Article
Full-text available
A growing body of literature has suggested that intranasal oxytocin (OT) or other systemic routes of administration can alter prosocial behavior, presumably by directly activating OT sensitive neural circuits in the brain. Yet there is no clear evidence that OT given peripherally can cross the blood-brain barrier at levels sufficient to engage the...
Article
Full-text available
Postpartum depression (PPD) affects up to 19% of women, negatively impacting maternal and infant health. Reductions in plasma oxytocin levels have been associated with PPD and heritability studies have established a genetic contribution. Epigenetic regulation of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) has been demonstrated and we hypothesized that indivi...
Article
Sex- and species-specific patterns of estrogen receptor (ER)-α expression are established early in development, which may contribute to sexual differentiation of behavior and determine male social organization. The current study investigated the effects of ERα and ERβ activation during the second postnatal week on subsequent alloparental behavior a...
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Full-text available
We investigated associations between aspects of childbirth and elevated postpartum symptoms of depression and anxiety. We employed secondary analysis of perinatal data (N = 4657-4946) from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) birth cohort. Multivariable logistic regression models (adjusted for covariates) examined predictors...
Article
Mothers with mood or anxiety disorders exhibit less optimal interactive behavior. The neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) has been linked to more optimal interactive behaviors in mothers without mental illness, and it may play a particularly beneficial role in mothers with mood or anxiety disorders given its antidepressant and anxiolytic functions. We compa...