The Action Radius of Oxytocin Release in the Mammalian CNS: From Single Vesicles to Behavior

Bice Chini, Matthijs Verhage, Valery Grinevich

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The hypothalamic neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) has attracted the attention both of the scientific community and a general audience because of its prosocial effects in mammals, and OT is now seen as a facilitator of mammalian species propagation. Furthermore, OT is a candidate for the treatment of social deficits in several neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental conditions. Despite such possibilities and a long history of studies on OT behavioral effects, the mechanisms of OT actions in the brain remain poorly understood. In the present review, based on anatomical, biochemical, electrophysiological, and behavioral studies, we propose a novel model of local OT actions in the central nervous system (CNS) via focused axonal release, which initiates intracellular signaling cascades in specific OT-sensitive neuronal populations and coordinated brain region-specific behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)982-991
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Pharmacological Sciences
Volume38
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017

Keywords

  • Animals
  • Axons
  • Behavior
  • Central Nervous System
  • Humans
  • Journal Article
  • Oxytocin
  • Review
  • Secretory Vesicles

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