Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar


  • Jonathan KopelEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_102138-1



The social and cognitive deficits in autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) patients remain a therapeutic challenge for both health care professionals and family (Cataldo et al. 2018). In recent years, several clinical studies showed the neuropeptide oxytocin, which facilitates trust, bonding, and communication, is decreased in ASD patients and other neuropsychiatric disorders (Cataldo et al. 2018; Peñagarikano et al. 2015; Vanya et al. 2017; Zhang et al. 2017). Specifically, several clinical studies demonstrated that administration of oxytocin improved social and cognitive skills in animal models and ASD patients (Cai et al. 2018; Cataldo et al. 2018; Peñagarikano et al. 2015; Vanya et al. 2017). Furthermore, these studies indicate that oxytocin improves social-cognitive function through three G-protein coupled receptors: OXTr, AVPR1a, and AVPr1b (Cataldo et al. 2018). Further clinical trials are needed to assess the efficacy and diagnostic potential...

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References and Reading

  1. Cai, Q., Feng, L., & Yap, K. Z. (2018). Systematic review and meta-analysis of reported adverse events of long-term intranasal oxytocin treatment for autism spectrum disorder. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 72(3), 140–151.  https://doi.org/10.1111/pcn.12627.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Cataldo, I., Azhari, A., & Esposito, G. (2018). A review of oxytocin and Arginine-Vasopressin receptors and their modulation of autism spectrum disorder. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 11.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fnmol.2018.00027.
  3. Peñagarikano, O., Lázaro, M. T., Lu, X.-H., Gordon, A., Dong, H., Lam, H. A., et al. (2015). Exogenous and evoked oxytocin restores social behavior in the Cntnap2 mouse model of autism. Science Translational Medicine, 7(271), 271ra278–271ra278.  https://doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.3010257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  5. Zhang, R., Zhang, H.-F., Han, J.-S., & Han, S.-P. (2017). Genes related to oxytocin and arginine-vasopressin pathways: Associations with autism spectrum disorders. Neuroscience Bulletin, 33(2), 238–246.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12264-017-0120-7.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC)LubbockUSA