Feb 1, 2020

The Role of the Oxytocin System in Anxiety Disorders

Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Seoyoung Yoon, Yong-Ku Kim


Oxytocin, a neuropeptide synthesized by the hypothalamus, plays a central role in human social behavior, social cognition, anxiety, mood, stress modulation, and fear learning and extinction. The relationships between oxytocin and psychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and autism spectrum disorder have been extensively studied. In this chapter, we focus on the current knowledge about oxytocin and anxiety disorder. We discuss the anxiolytic effects of oxytocin in preclinical and clinical findings, possible related neurobehavioral mechanisms (social cognition, fear learning, and extinction), related neurotransmitter and neuroendocrine systems (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, serotoninergic, and GABAergic systems), and studies regarding plasma levels of oxytocin, genetic and epigenetic findings, and effects of intranasal oxytocin in DSM-5 anxiety disorder (primarily social anxiety disorder and separation anxiety disorder) patients.

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Mentioned in this Paper

GABAergic Neurons
Signs and Symptoms
Hypothalamic Structure
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Anxiety Disorders
Epigenetic Process

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