Article

Menstrual cycle-related changes in plasma oxytocin are relevant to normal sexual function in health women

University of Pavia, Ticinum, Lombardy, Italy
Hormones and Behavior (Impact Factor: 4.63). 03/2005; 47(2):164-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2004.10.002
Source: PubMed

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.

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    • "Interestingly, intranasal oxy administration evokes in women a marked increase of sexual desire, which is associated with vaginal transudate (Dennerstein 1994, 1995). Finally, oxy levels fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle in fertile women not using oral contraceptives; in particular during the luteal phase oxy plasma levels are lower compared to those observed in the ovulatory phase (Altemus et al., 2001;Salonia et al., 2005). Moreover, during the ovulation, the endogenous oxy activity is suppressed (Evans et al., 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: Oxytocin (oxy) is a pituitary neuropeptide hormone synthesized from the paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei within the hypothalamus. Like other neuropeptides, oxy can modulate a wide range of neurotransmitter and neuromodulator activities. Additionally, through the neurohypophysis, oxy is secreted into the systemic circulation to act as a hormone, thereby influencing several body functions. Oxy plays a pivotal role in parturition, milk let-down and maternal behavior and has been demonstrated to be important in the formation of pair bonding between mother and infants as well as in mating pairs. Furthermore, oxy has been proven to play a key role in the regulation of several behaviors associated with neuropsychiatric disorders, including social interactions, social memory response to social stimuli, decision-making in the context of social interactions, feeding behavior, emotional reactivity, etc. An increasing body of evidence suggests that deregulations of the oxytocinergic system might be involved in the pathophysiology of certain neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism, eating disorders, schizophrenia, mood, and anxiety disorders. The potential use of oxy in these mental health disorders is attracting growing interest since numerous beneficial properties are ascribed to this neuropeptide. The present manuscript will review the existing findings on the role played by oxy in a variety of distinct physiological and behavioral functions (Figure 1) and on its role and impact in different psychiatric disorders. The aim of this review is to highlight the need of further investigations on this target that might contribute to the development of novel more efficacious therapies. Figure 1Oxytocin regulatory control of different and complex processes.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Frontiers in Neuroscience
    • "In the group of women, special attention was paid to the menstrual cycle, because of neuroendocrine interactions with OT. Participants taking hormonal contraception were evaluated between the 3rd and 18th day of the intake period, and women with a menstrual cycle who were not taking hormonal contraception were evaluated during the follicular phase, i.e. between the 5th and 12th day of the menstrual cycle, because gonadal hormones are more stable during this period (Salonia et al., 2005). "

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    • "In the group of women, special attention was paid to the menstrual cycle, because of neuroendocrine interactions with OT. Participants taking hormonal contraception were evaluated between the 3rd and 18th day of the intake period, and women with a menstrual cycle who were not taking hormonal contraception were evaluated during the follicular phase, i.e. between the 5th and 12th day of the menstrual cycle, because gonadal hormones are more stable during this period (Salonia et al., 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Patients with chronic depression (CD) experience a high burden of disease, severe co-morbidity, 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.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Journal of Psychiatric Research
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