Journal Home > Volume 2 , issue 1-2

Full text
About this article

Oxytocin in the brain: From social behavior to stress

Show Author's information Shu-Lu Zhan1Ji Hu2( )Ti-Fei Yuan1( )
Shanghai Mental Health Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200025, China
School of Life Science and Technology, ShanghaiTech University, Shanghai 201210, China
Received: 16 March 2022 Accepted: 16 March 2022 Published: 25 March 2022 Issue date: June 2022
Caldwell, H. K. Oxytocin and vasopressin: Powerful regulators of social behavior. Neuroscientist, 2017, 23(5): 517–528.
Qin, J., Feng, M., Wang, C., Ye, Y., Wang, P. S., Liu, C. Oxytocin receptor expressed on the smooth muscle mediates the excitatory effect of oxytocin on gastric motility in rats. Neurogastroenterology and Motility, 2009, 21(4): 430–438.
Luther, J. A., Daftary, S. S., Boudaba, C., Gould, G. C., Halmos, K. C., Tasker, J. G. Neurosecretory and non-neurosecretory parvocellular neurones of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus express distinct electrophysiological properties. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 2002, 14(12): 929–932.
Borland, J. M., Grantham, K. N., Aiani, L. M., Frantz, K. J., Albers, H. E. Role of oxytocin in the ventral tegmental area in social reinforcement. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2018, 95: 128–137.
Clauss, J. A., Avery, S. N., Benningfield, M. M., Blackford, J. U. Social anxiety is associated with BNST response to unpredictability. Depress Anxiety, 2019, 36(8): 666–675.
Gimpl, G., Fahrenholz, F. The oxytocin receptor system: structure, function, and regulation. Physiological Reviews, 2001, 81(2): 629–683.
Jurek, B., Neumann, I. D. The oxytocin receptor: From intracellular signaling to behavior. Physiological Reviews, 2018, 98(3): 1805–1908.
Labuschagne, I., Phan, K. L., Wood, A., Angstadt, M., Chua, P., Heinrichs, M., Stout, J. C., Nathan, P. J. Oxytocin attenuates amygdala reactivity to fear in generalized social anxiety disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2010, 35(12): 2403–2413.
Menon, R., Grund, T., Zoicas, I., Althammer, F., Fiedler, D., Biermeier, V., Bosch, O. J., Hiraoka, Y., Nishimori, K., Eliava, M., et al. Oxytocin signaling in the lateral septum prevents social fear during lactation. Current Biology, 2018, 28(7): 1066–1078.e6.
Nardou, R., Lewis, E. M., Rothhaas, R., Xu, R., Yang, A., Boyden, E., Dolen, G. Oxytocin-dependent reopening of a social reward learning critical period with MDMA. Nature, 2019, 569(7754): 116–120.
Neumann, I. D., Landgraf, R. Balance of brain oxytocin and vasopressin: implications for anxiety, depression, and social behaviors. Trends in Neurosciences, 2012, 35(11): 649–659.
Niederkofler, V., Asher, T. E., Okaty, B. W., Rood, B. D., Narayan, A., Hwa, L. S., Beck, S. G., Miczek, K. A., Dymecki, S. M. Identification of serotonergic neuronal modules that affect aggressive behavior. Cell Reports, 2016, 17(8): 1934–1949.
Oettl, L. L., Ravi, N., Schneider, M., Scheller, M. F., Schneider, P., Mitre, M., da Silva Gouveia, M., Froemke, R. C., Chao, M. V., Young, W. S., et al. Oxytocin enhances social recognition by modulating cortical control of early olfactory processing. Neuron, 2016, 90(3): 609–621.
Richter, K., Wolf, G., Engelmann, M. Social recognition memory requires two stages of protein synthesis in mice. Learning & Memory, 2005, 12(4): 407–413.
Sabihi, S., Dong, S. M., Maurer, S. D., Post, C., Leuner, B. Oxytocin in the medial prefrontal cortex attenuates anxiety: Anatomical and receptor specificity and mechanism of action. Neuropharmacology, 2017, 125: 1–12.
Sharma, K., LeBlanc, R., Haque, M., Nishimori, K., Reid, M. M., Teruyama, R. Sexually dimorphic oxytocin receptor-expressing neurons in the preoptic area of the mouse brain. PLoS One, 2019, 14(7): e0219784.
Tschida, K., Michael, V., Takatoh, J., Han, B. X., Zhao, S., Sakurai, K., Mooney, R., Wang, F. A specialized neural circuit gates social vocalizations in the mouse. Neuron, 2019, 103(3): 459–472.e4.
Verhagen, M., Engels, R., Roekel, E. V. The oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) and gazing behavior during social interaction: An observational study in young adults. Open Journal of Depression, 2014, 3(4): 136–146.
Lin, Y. T., Hsu, K. S. Oxytocin receptor signaling in the hippocampus: Role in regulating neuronal excitability, network oscillatory activity, synaptic plasticity and social memory. Progress in Neurobiology, 2018, 171: 1–14.
Choe, H. K., Reed, M. D., Benavidez, N., Montgomery, D., Soares, N., Yim, Y. S., Choi, G. B. Oxytocin mediates entrainment of sensory stimuli to social cues of opposing valence. Neuron, 2015, 87(1): 152–163.
Dolen, G., Darvishzadeh, A., Huang, K. W., Malenka, R. C. Social reward requires coordinated activity of nucleus accumbens oxytocin and serotonin. Nature, 2013, 501(7466): 179–184.
Hung, L. W., Neuner, S., Polepalli, J. S., Beier, K. T., Wright, M., Walsh, J. J., Lewis, E. M., Luo, L., Deisseroth, K., Dolen, G., Malenka, R. C. Gating of social reward by oxytocin in the ventral tegmental area. Science, 2017, 357(6358): 1406–1411.
Anthony, T. E., Dee, N., Bernard, A., Lerchner, W., Heintz, N., Anderson, D. J. Control of stress-induced persistent anxiety by an extra-amygdala septohypothalamic circuit. Cell, 2014, 156(3): 522–536.
Ch'ng, S., Fu, J., Brown, R. M., McDougall, S. J., Lawrence, A. J. The intersection of stress and reward: BNST modulation of aversive and appetitive states. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry, 2018, 87(Pt A): 108–125.
Liu, W. Z., Zhang, W. H., Zheng, Z. H., Zou, J. X., Liu, X. X., Huang, S. H., You, W. J., He, Y., Zhang, J. Y., Wang, X. D., Pan, B. X. Identification of a prefrontal cortex-to-amygdala pathway for chronic stress-induced anxiety. Nature Communications, 2020, 11(1): 2221.
Snyder, J. S., Soumier, A., Brewer, M., Pickel, J., Cameron, H. A. Adult hippocampal neurogenesis buffers stress responses and depressive behaviour. Nature, 2011, 476(7361): 458–461.
Pisansky, M. T., Hanson, L. R., Gottesman, I. I., Gewirtz, J. C. Oxytocin enhances observational fear in mice. Nature Communications, 2017, 8(1): 2102.
Jiang, W. Q., Bao, L. L., Sun, F. J., Liu, X. L., Yang, J. Oxytocin in the periaqueductal gray mainly comes form the hypothalamic supraoptic nucleus to participate in pain modulation. Peptides, 2019, 121: 170153.
Jurek, B., Slattery, D. A., Hiraoka, Y., Liu, Y., Nishimori, K., Aguilera, G., Neumann, I. D., van den Burg, E. H. Oxytocin regulates stress-induced Crf gene transcription through CREB-regulated transcription coactivator 3. Journal of Neuroscience, 2015, 35(35): 12248–12260.
Onaka, T., Takayanagi, Y. Role of oxytocin in the control of stress and food intake. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 2019, 31(3): e12700.
Onaka, T., Takayanagi, Y., Yoshida, M. Roles of oxytocin neurones in the control of stress, energy metabolism, and social behaviour. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 2012, 24(4): 587–598.
Li, K., Nakajima, M., Ibanez-Tallon, I., Heintz, N. A cortical circuit for sexually dimorphic oxytocin-dependent anxiety behaviors. Cell, 2016, 167(1): 60–72.e11.
Publication history
Rights and permissions

Publication history

Received: 16 March 2022
Accepted: 16 March 2022
Published: 25 March 2022
Issue date: June 2022


© The Author(s) 2022

Rights and permissions

Creative Commons Non Commercial CC BY-NC: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attributtion-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission.

Reprints and Permission requests may be sought directly from editorial office.