The Role of Neurohypophyseal Hormones Vasopressin and Oxytocin in Neuropsychiatric Disorders

Author(s): Michele Iovino, Tullio Messana, Giovanni De Pergola, Emanuela Iovino, Franca Dicuonzo, Edoardo Guastamacchia, Vito Angelo Giagulli, Vincenzo Triggiani*.

Journal Name: Endocrine, Metabolic & Immune Disorders - Drug Targets
(Formerly Current Drug Targets - Immune, Endocrine & Metabolic Disorders)

Volume 18 , Issue 4 , 2018

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Graphical Abstract:


Background and Objective: Although the neurohypophyseal hormones vasopressin (VP) and oxytocin (OT) are mostly known for their role respectively in antidiuresis, and in labour, lactation and maternal behavior, both might exert widespread influences either on emotion and cognition in healthy subjects, showing some gender-related differences. They interact with each other facilitating shifts between positive socially- oriented and defensive states. In fact, VP amplifies the reactivity to stressors showing also beneficial effects on attention, verbal learning as well as memory, whereas OT reduces the amplitude of the stress response, improves emotion processing, and can play a negative effect on memory and verbal learning in healthy individuals. Several data indicate the possible involvement of these neuropeptides in the pathophysiology of psychiatric conditions involving social interactions, such as autism, as well as in schizophrenia and depression. The aim of this paper is to review the literature relating to the role played by neurohypophyseal hormones in neuropsychiatric disorders.

Methods: We analyzed the best of published literature dealing with the relationships between neurohypophyseal hormones and neuropsychiatric conditions like autism (AD), major depressive disorder (MDD), bipolar disorder (BD) and schozophrenia, identifying keywords and MeSH terms in Pubmed and then searching them. The last search was performed on December 2017.

Results: Several studies indicate a role played by OT and VP in AD, schizophrenia, MDD and BD. Even if conflicting data have been reported, several mechanisms may be involved in these behavioral diseases, such as differences in aminoacid sequence and peptide biological activity, neurotransmission and genetic disorders involving OT and VP receptors.

Conclusion: The involvment of VP and OT in neurpopsychiatric disorders can support a possible beneficial therapy with OT or with VP antagonists. The target may be obtained using effective drug delivery methods as well as the association with other drugs.

Keywords: Oxytocin, vasopressin, autism, schizophrenia, mood disorders, bipolar disorder.

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Article Details

Year: 2018
Page: [341 - 347]
Pages: 7
DOI: 10.2174/1871530318666180220104900
Price: $65

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