Jun 22, 2018

Oxytocin alters the morphology of hypothalamic neurons via the transcription factor myocyte enhancer factor 2A (MEF-2A)

Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Magdalena MeyerBenjamin Jurek


Oxytocin (OT) has gained attention not only as anxiolytic drug and as potential treatment option for autistic children; it also acts as a growth and differentiation factor in neuronal cells. While behavioral effects of OT have been studied in detail, knowledge about the cellular effects of OT is relatively sparse. In this study, we present evidence for three hypotheses: 1) OT leads to neurite retraction in hypothalamic neurons via the OT receptor (OTR) 2) The transcription factor MEF-2A is a central regulator of OT-induced neurite retraction, and 3) The MAPK pathway is critical for OT-induced MEF-2A activation. Incubation of rat hypothalamic H32 cells with 10 nM to 1 μM OT, vasopressin, and the specific OTR agonist TGOT, over the course of 12 h resulted in a time-dependent, significant retraction of neurites. In addition, the size of the nuclear compartment increased, whereas the overall cell size remained unchanged. OT treatment for 10 h increased the cellular viability significantly, and this effect could be blocked by a specific OTR antagonist, providing evidence for a specific and pro-active effect of OT on neurite retraction, and not as an unspecific side effect of apoptosis. The molecular mechanism that controls OT-induce...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

MAP2K1 protein, human
H32 compound
Biochemical Pathway
U 0126
Gene Knockdown Techniques
Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
RNA, Small Interfering
Science of Morphology

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