Oxytocin and estrogen receptor β in the brain: An overview

Alexandra Acevedo-Rodriguez, Shaila K. Mani, Robert J Handa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Oxytocin (OT) is a neuropeptide synthesized primarily by neurons of the paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei of the hypothalamus. These neurons have axons that project into the posterior pituitary and release OT into the bloodstream to promote labor and lactation; however, OT neurons also project to other brain areas where it plays a role in numerous brain functions. OT binds to the widely expressed OT receptor (OTR), and, in doing so, it regulates homeostatic processes, social recognition, and fear conditioning. In addition to these functions, OT decreases neuroendocrine stress signaling and anxiety-related and depression-like behaviors. Steroid hormones differentially modulate stress responses and alter OTR expression. In particular, estrogen receptor β activation has been found to both reduce anxiety-related behaviors and increase OT peptide transcription, suggesting a role for OT in this estrogen receptor β-mediated anxiolytic effect. Further research is needed to identify modulators of OT signaling and the pathways utilized and to elucidate molecular mechanisms controlling OT expression to allow better therapeutic manipulations of this system in patient populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number160
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
Volume6
Issue numberOCT
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Oxytocin Receptors
Oxytocin
Estrogen Receptors
Brain
Neurons
Anxiety
Supraoptic Nucleus
Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus
Anti-Anxiety Agents
Neuropeptides
Lactation
Fear
Axons
Steroids
Hormones
Depression

Keywords

  • Adrenal
  • Anxiety
  • Behavior
  • Estradiol
  • Hypothalamus
  • Oxytocin
  • Pituitary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

Cite this

Oxytocin and estrogen receptor β in the brain : An overview. / Acevedo-Rodriguez, Alexandra; Mani, Shaila K.; Handa, Robert J.

In: Frontiers in Endocrinology, Vol. 6, No. OCT, 160, 2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Acevedo-Rodriguez, Alexandra ; Mani, Shaila K. ; Handa, Robert J. / Oxytocin and estrogen receptor β in the brain : An overview. In: Frontiers in Endocrinology. 2015 ; Vol. 6, No. OCT.
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