Scientists Probe Oxytocin Therapy for Social Deficits in Autism, Schizophrenia

ArticleinJAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 305(7):659-61 · February 2011with1 Reads
DOI: 10.1001/jama.2011.117 · Source: PubMed
Emerging evidence indicates that oxytocin plays an important role in human social interactions, and preliminary clinical studies suggest the hormone may help improve social functioning in individuals with autism or schizophrenia. But experts caution that much remains to be learned about oxytocin and its physiological effects before it is ready for clinical use.Oxytocin has long been known to help facilitate mother and infant bonding. Research on the socially monogamous prairie vole has demonstrated that the hormone plays a much wider role in helping to establish social bonds among animals. The animal findings have led to studies in humans to assess how exposure to the hormone affects human interactions, including early clinical studies in individuals with social impairments related to such disorders as autism and schizophrenia.
    • "In addition, other studies have been shown that oxytocin may be useful in schizophrenia management or be associated with treatment response (Souza et al. 2010; Pedersen et al. 2011; Averbeck et al. 2012). While these results are promising, concerns regarding oxytocin treatment have been recently raised suggesting that large-scale safety and efficacy studies should be performed (Kuehn 2011). Pharmacological modulation of oxytocin receptor has been used in the clinical practice for years but strictly under acute use (Gimpl and Fahrenholz 2001). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adjuvant therapy is a common therapeutic strategy used for schizophrenia management. Oxytocin has shown promising results as antipsychotic adjuvant in patients with schizophrenia. Although short-term clinical studies have indicated tolerability and no major side-effect manifestation, long-term studies remain needed. In this study, we investigated whether oxytocin chronic administration in rats may lead to brain DNA damage by comet assay. Our results suggest that 21 and 56-day treatment with once daily intraperitoneal oxytocin (0.1, 1.0 and 10.0 mg/kg) may cause substantial DNA damage in hippocampus. We have not found differences on body weight gain. Our findings also point that further clinical and preclinical studies evaluating oxytocin safety after chronic exposure are necessary.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2016
    • "Furthermore, in so far as OT amplifies approach and reduces avoidance across contexts, future study may test the clinical implications of this theorized mechanism of OT. To-date, clinical translation of OT has been universally social, and focused on psychopathology characterized by social dysfunctions (i.e., social anxiety, autism-spectrum Andari et al., 2010; Hoge et al., 2008; Insel, 2010; Kuehn, 2011). The proposed GAAO may thus have novel implications for future clinical science by means of novel therapeutic applications of OT targeting dysregulated approach-avoidance motivational processes broadly – across social and non-social processes . "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: We critically reexamine extant theory and empirical study of Oxytocin. We question whether OT is, in fact, a "social neuropeptide" as argued in dominant theories of OT. Method: We critically review human and animal research on the social and non-social effects of Oxytocin, including behavioral, psychophysiological, neurobiological, and neuroimaging studies. Results: We find that extant (social) theories of Oxytocin do not account for well-documented non-social effects of Oxytocin. Furthermore, we find a range of evidence that social and non-social effects of Oxytocin may be mediated by core approach-avoidance motivational processes. Conclusions: We propose a General Approach-avoidance Hypothesis of Oxytocin (GAAO). We argue that the GAAO may provide a parsimonious account of established social and non-social effects of Oxytocin. We thus re-conceptualize the basic function(s) and mechanism(s) of action of Oxytocin. Finally, we highlight implications of the GAAO for basic and clinical research in humans
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014
    • "The modulation of IIV by dopamine fits well with neurocomputational studies in which dopamine dysregulation is assumed to alter the signal-to-noise ratio of neural information processing, effectively impairing the neuron's sensitivity to afferent signals, leading to noisier information (i.e., signal) processing and impaired cognitive functioning (Li et al. 2001; Lindenberger et al. 2011). Another potential neurotransmitter that has been linked to increased signal-to-noise ratios is oxytocin (Owen et al. 2013): individuals with autism show lower oxytocin levels compared to non-autistic individuals (Modahl et al. 1998; Wu et al. 2005), and oxytocin-related treatment has been suggested as a therapy for ASD (Kuehn 2011; Modi and Young 2012; Gordon et al. 2013). Yet a further and final possibility we consider is that the greater IIV in autism reflects reduced cortical maturity and white matter refinement. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous findings have shown that individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) evince greater intra-individual variability (IIV) in their sensory-evoked fMRI responses compared to typical control participants. We explore the robustness of this finding with a new sample of high-functioning adults with autism. Participants were presented with visual, somatosensory and auditory stimuli in the scanner whilst they completed a one-back task. While ASD and control participants were statistically indistinguishable with respect to behavioral responses, the new ASD group exhibited greater IIV relative to controls. We also show that the IIV was equivalent across hemispheres and remained stable over the duration of the experiment. This suggests that greater cortical IIV may be a replicable characteristic of sensory systems in autism.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014
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