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Endocrine, Metabolic & Immune Disorders - Drug Targets


ISSN (Print): 1871-5303
ISSN (Online): 2212-3873

General Review Article

Oxytocin Signaling Pathway: From Cell Biology to Clinical Implications

Author(s): Michele Iovino, Tullio Messana, Anna Tortora, Consuelo Giusti, Giuseppe Lisco, Vito Angelo Giagulli, Edoardo Guastamacchia, Giovanni De Pergola and Vincenzo Triggiani*

Volume 21, Issue 1, 2021

Published on: 20 May, 2020

Page: [91 - 110] Pages: 20

DOI: 10.2174/1871530320666200520093730

Price: $65


Background: In addition to the well-known role played in lactation and parturition, Oxytocin (OT) and OT receptor (OTR) are involved in many other aspects such as the control of maternal and social behavior, the regulation of the growth of the neocortex, the maintenance of blood supply to the cortex, the stimulation of limbic olfactory area to mother-infant recognition bond, and the modulation of the autonomic nervous system via the vagal pathway. Moreover, OT and OTR show antiinflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-pain, anti-diabetic, anti-dyslipidemic and anti-atherogenic effects.

Objective: The aim of this narrative review is to summarize the main data coming from the literature dealing with the role of OT and OTR in physiology and pathologic conditions focusing on the most relevant aspects.

Methods: Appropriate keywords and MeSH terms were identified and searched in Pubmed. Finally, references of original articles and reviews were examined.

Results: We report the most significant and updated data on the role played by OT and OTR in physiology and different clinical contexts.

Conclusion: Emerging evidence indicates the involvement of OT system in several pathophysiological mechanisms influencing brain anatomy, cognition, language, sense of safety and trust and maternal behavior, with the possible use of exogenous administered OT in the treatment of specific neuropsychiatric conditions. Furthermore, it modulates pancreatic β-cell responsiveness and lipid metabolism leading to possible therapeutic use in diabetic and dyslipidemic patients and for limiting and even reversing atherosclerotic lesions.

Keywords: Oxytocin, oxytocin receptor, maternal behavior, social behavior, metabolic homeostasis, atherosclerosis, pain, neuroinflammation, autism, schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder.

Graphical Abstract
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