Oxytocin and Behavior

  • G. L. Kovács
Part of the Current Topics in Neuroendocrinology book series (CT NEUROENDOCRI, volume 6)

Abstract

The past 10 years have witnessed the growth of the view that neuropeptides are essential to the functional integrity of the central nervous system. Oxytocin (OXT), which was long considered to be implicated in milk ejection only, is a neuropeptide with potent behavioral effects. Since the original discovery by Sterba (1974), a great number of morphological (for reviews, see Buijs 1983; Swanson and Sawchenko 1983; Sofroniew 1983; Palkovits and Brownstein 1983; Kozlowski et al. 1983) and biochemical (Dogterom et al. 1978; Mens et al. 1983; Kovács et al. 1985d; Hawthorn et al. 1984) results indicate that the biologically active OXT is present in various extrahypothalamic (mainly limbic and brainstem) brain regions. The release of extrahypothalamic OXT by depolarizing stimuli has been demonstrated (Buijs and Van Heerikhuize 1982), and the existence of specific binding sites for OXT (putative OXT receptors) has been described in limbic brain structures (Ferrier et al. 1983; Brinton et al. 1984). However, the biological significance of OXT in the brain is not clear. The neuropeptide has been implicated in the regulation of behavioral reactions. Evidence has accumulated that OXT attenuates learning and memory processes (for review, see Kovács and Telegdy 1982), regulates the adaptive response to narcotic analgesics (Kovács et al. 1984 b, c), and alters the efficacy of addictive drugs (Van Ree and De Wied 1977 a; Kovács and Telegdy 1984; Kovács et al. 1985 a).

Keywords

Attenuation Serotonin Catecholamine Prolactin Haloperidol 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. L. Kovács
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of PathophysiologyUniversity Medical SchoolSzegedHungary

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