Encyclopedia of Signaling Molecules

2018 Edition
| Editors: Sangdun Choi

OTR (Oxytocin Receptor)

  • Sarah ArrowsmithEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-67199-4_101738


Historical Background

The biological activities of the pituitary gland have been recognized for over 120 years. In 1895, Oliver and Schäfer discovered that an element of pituitary extract could elevate blood pressure in mammals – the so-called pressor effect. A few years later, Howell identified that this activity resided from the posterior lobe of the pituitary. In 1906, Sir Henry Dale, while studying the vasopressor action of the extract, found that it also possessed a powerful stimulating action on the uterus of a pregnant cat. He termed the agent responsible, “oxytocin” from the Greek words ωχνξ, τoχoxξmeaning “quick birth.” Shortly afterwards the same extract was shown to cause milk secretion from mammary tissue. Around 50 years later, the American biochemist, Vincent du Vigneaud determined the chemical structure of oxytocin (OT). He characterized and sequenced a peptide of 9 amino acids which formed a 6 amino-acid cyclic...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Harris-Wellbeing Preterm Birth Research Centre, Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Institute of Translational MedicineUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK