2-Minute Neuroscience: Oxytocin
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  • Release Date: 2024-04-03
  • neurotransmitter
  • neuropeptide
  • hormone
  • hypothalamus
Video Introduction

The content is sourced from: https://youtu.be/tLc9fQd58bg

Oxytocin is a peptide hormone and neuropeptide that is thought to have a variety of effects ranging from increasing uterine contractions during labor to influencing social interactions. In this video, I discuss where in the brain oxytocin is synthesized and the hypothesized effects of oxytocin.[1]

Oxytocin is a peptide hormone and a neuropeptide, which is a name for a peptide that can also act as a neurotransmitter. 

Oxytocin is primarily produced in the hypothalamus and transported through axons to the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland. From there it can be secreted into the bloodstream of the body. Although there are a number of effects linked to this peripherally-acting oxytocin, the best understood effects have to do with childbirth and breastfeeding. Oxytocin is involved with increasing uterine contractions during labor and with the milk let-down reflex, which causes milk to be released during breastfeeding.

There is also evidence, however, that some oxytocin-containing neurons project to other areas of the central nervous system including the hippocampus, cerebral cortex, brainstem, amygdala, and spinal cord. The effects of this centrally-released oxytocin are not as clearly understood. Some research suggests it is involved with trust, empathy, and social bonding. These findings have caused some to call oxytocin the trust hormone, the love hormone, or even the cuddle hormone. Others have argued, however, that oxytocin’s effects on the brain are not so clear-cut. Some researchers have found oxytocin to be associated with negative emotions and aggression, and some of the research supporting oxytocin’s function as a love or trust hormone has been criticized for methodological problems. Other researchers have hypothesized that oxytocin might be involved in promoting responsiveness to social cues in general, whether they be positive or negative. Thus, at this point there is no consensus on the effects of oxytocin’s actions on behavior. It is likely, however, that its effects on behavior are far more complex than a simple designation like the “love hormone” would suggest.

  1. Veenema AH, Neumann ID. Central vasopressin and oxytocin release: regulation of complex social behaviours. Prog Brain Res. 2008;170:261-76. doi: 10.1016/S0079-6123(08)00422-6.
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Challenged, N. 2-Minute Neuroscience: Oxytocin. Encyclopedia. Available online: https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/1166 (accessed on 25 May 2024).
Challenged N. 2-Minute Neuroscience: Oxytocin. Encyclopedia. Available at: https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/1166. Accessed May 25, 2024.
Challenged, Neuroscientifically. "2-Minute Neuroscience: Oxytocin" Encyclopedia, https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/1166 (accessed May 25, 2024).
Challenged, N. (2024, April 03). 2-Minute Neuroscience: Oxytocin. In Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/1166
Challenged, Neuroscientifically. "2-Minute Neuroscience: Oxytocin." Encyclopedia. Web. 03 April, 2024.
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