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Oxytocin and Appetite

  • Céline Caquineau
  • Gareth Leng
Chapter

Abstract

Oxytocin is best known as a circulating hormone that is secreted from the posterior pituitary gland (the neurohypophysis) to mediate uterine contractions during parturition and which is essential for milk let-down during suckling. However, oxytocin is also released in the brain where it influences several behaviors. In particular, it facilitates reproductive and social behaviors including maternal behavior, while inhibiting some other behaviors, including eating behavior. Oxytocin neurons in the hypothalamus are activated during feeding, and this activation follows the arrival of food in the gut, as a response to the activation of gastric vagal afferents. Within the brain, oxytocin acts at two key sites to inhibit feeding; at the nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS) in the brainstem, and at the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMN). Peripheral secretion of oxytocin acts at the heart to stimulate sodium excretion (natriuresis) mediated via the release of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), and in some species oxytocin also has a direct action at the kidney.

Keywords

Atrial Natriuretic Peptide Nucleus Tractus Solitarii Oxytocin Receptor Prairie Vole POMC Neuron 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Abbreviations

AgRP

Agouti-related protein

AP

Area postrema

ARC

Arcuate nucleus

CCK

Cholecystokinin

CNS

Central nervous system

ER

Endoplasmic reticulum

Icv

Intracerebroventicular

Ins (1,4,5)P3

Inositol-1,4,5-triphosphate

InsP3R

Inositol-1,4,5-triphosphate receptor

Ip

Intraperitoneal

Iv

Intravenous

MC4R

Melanocortin receptor 4

α-MSH

Alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone

NPY

Neuropeptide Y

NTS

Nucleus of the solitary tract

OC

Optic chiasm

OTR

Oxytocin receptor

PLC

Phospholipase C

Ptdlns(4,5)P2

Phosphatidylinositol-4,5-biphosphate

POMC

Proopiomelanocortin

PVN

Paraventricular nucleus

RP

Reserve pool

RPP

Readily releasable pool

Sim1

Single-minded 1

SON

Supraoptic nucleus

VMN

Ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus

3V

Third ventricle

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank Mike Ludwig, Nancy Sabatier, and Vicky Tobin for assistance with, and ­providing photomicrographs for, Figs. 20.1, 20.3, and 20.4.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Integrative PhysiologyUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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