The possible role of oxytocin in neuropsychiatric disorders


Compulsive Personality Disorder
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Eating Disorders


Oxytocin (OT) is a peptide hormone unique to mammals, typically involved in activities characteristic of this vertebrate class, such as labour and lactation. Evidence suggests a role of OT even in most complex activities, including child attachment, maternal care, couple bonding, emotional and social behaviors. Furthermore, it seems to contribute to the modulation of stress responses, learning, and memory processes, as well as to the connection of social signals with cognition, behaviors and reward. For this reason, for years there has been a debate on the possible contribution of the OT system in the pathophysiology of different neuropsychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, addiction, and schizophrenia. In this article, we describe the most relevant findings on OT system abnormalities in the aforementioned disorders, with a focus on possible therapeutic implications.


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