Oxytocin is comparatively a small 9 residue peptide that consists of a single disulphide bond and it is the 1st synthetic peptide to be developed for human utilisation. In 1906, Dale was the one to originally isolate this peptide. In the early 1950s, Victor du Vigneaud did the successful sequencing and then afterwards synthesized it. In 1955, for the work conducted on Oxytocin, Victor du Vigneaud was also awarded the Nobel Prize. Oxytocin is a peptide that is sustained and is found overall in the vertebrate species.
During Childbirth, Syntocinon or Pitocon, the Synthetic Oxytocin, is prescribed regularly to induce and augment labour. Rapid heartbeat and unusual bleeding are sometimes observed as the side effects. In 1998 it was evaluated by the Journal of the American Medical Association that in the US, 16% of the labors are induced and an additional 16% of labors that initiate instinctively are supplemented with the inducing drugs. Just post-birth, Oxytocin is also applied to avert postpartum hemorrhage if the contraction of the uterus is not continued and the bleeding is not stopped. Oxytocin can rupture the uterus if it is delivered in too much quantity and top rapidly.
The Nasal Spray formulation of Oxytocin is sometimes, although rarely, provided to the mothers having difficulty with milk let-down in the initial few days of nursing.
Because of the impersonating roles of Oxytocin in childbirth and nursing, researchers have observed Oxytocin for many years, primarily as a pregnancy hormone. In addition to this, it can also be used to induce termination or complete a miscarriage.
In many recent studies, scientists have revealed numerous effects of Oxytocin in both men and women. Oxytocin has shown much more pleiotropic effects than the realisation of the scientists. A wider role of Oxytocin was suspected by the scientists when they observed that the receptor reaching high concentrations in the laboring uterus is also found in other tissues like the reproductive tract, heart, and brain, in both women and men. In addition to this, many researchers also suspect that there are one or more than one Oxytocin receptors that are still unidentified. In the brain, Oxytocin is shown to play a large and unexplored role. In addition to being a hormone that is circulated in the bloodstream, it is also a neurotransmitter that travels in the brain’s nerve cells and at another place also. Cells of the hypothalamus make oxytocin and transfer it to the pituitary gland and also to the different regions of the brain. Moreover, oxytocin is not only produced by the cells of the hypothalamus but the heart, testicles, ovaries, and blood vessel walls have also shown to make their own oxytocin. Some research studies have also shown that oxytocin might help benefit people with Anxiety, Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Oxytocin is The Love Hormone?
Oxytocin is not only associated with childbirth and lactating mothers but the researchers in 2012 have also shown that people who are in the initial stages of romantic attachment have higher levels of oxytocin than those who are non attached and single and the levels have been shown to persist for at least 6 months. The release of oxytocin is stimulated during sexual activities. Some studies have shown that in women the reason behind this might be the increased uterine motility to help sperm reach their destination.
In addition to the effects of oxytocin in the uterus and lactation, it has also been shown to impact social, cognitive, and emotional behaviours when released in certain parts of the brain. Some research studies have shown the impacts of oxytocin on pro-social behaviours and emotional responses that contribute to trust, relaxation, and psychological stability. In the research studies in several species, it has been observed that brain oxytocin reduces stress responses, including anxiety.
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