The Role of Oxytocin in the Body

by | Jun 20, 2022 | Research

Oxytocin is a protein hormone with two natural roles: it is a neuropeptide secreted by the brain and has functions in bonding, sexual reproduction, and delivery. Oxytocin is a blood-borne hormone generated by the placenta of pregnant women which aids in birthing, milk production, and neonatal bonding.

In males, Oxytocin is generated in the testes and is involved in match behavior and pair bonding.

Oxytocin is a nine-amino acid peptide hormone generated in the brain and released by the posterior pituitary gland. In its natural state, Oxytocin is a precursor molecule that splits to produce the active hormone. According to research, the peptide is produced in the retina, adrenal glands, pancreas, and thymus. Although Oxytocin is assumed to be a neurohypophysial hormone, it has activities in other tissues throughout the body.


The Potential Role of Oxytocin in Wound Healing

By acting on inflammatory cytokines, the peptide can impact the severity of inflammation. Scientific research on wound healing in 37 couples found that social contact boosted the amount of Oxytocin, which enhanced the pace of wound healing. A unique study was also conducted among couples to evaluate how antagonism in interpersonal interactions affects wound healing. Couples with unfavorable interpersonal connections, on the other hand, had a wound recovery rate of roughly 40%. These couples also had reduced amounts of IL-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and IL-1 beta at the site of damage.


Oxytocin and the Cardiovascular System

Due to Oxytocin’s capacity to accelerate wound healing and affect inflammatory cytokines, experts believe it may help protect the heart and vascular system.

The peptide may protect the heart and circulatory system by decreasing fat mass, lowering blood pressure, enhancing glucose tolerance, and alleviating anxiety.

Scientific evidence suggests that Oxytocin receptor inhibition can cause atherosclerosis in some situations. In rare circumstances, increasing Oxytocin levels in persons with low receptor density can help preserve cardiovascular integrity and reverse atherosclerosis.

According to scientific studies, infusing the compound directly into the heart during ischemia can protect cardiomyocytes from damage or death. According to Jankoski et al., increasing the dose of Oxytocin can help prevent the late-term prevalence of dilated cardiomyopathy. It can help precondition cardiac stem cells to aid in “tissue rejuvenation via differentiation, secretion of cardiomyogenic and protective factors, and aid their fusion with injured cardiomyocytes.”

The peptide in animal studies is shown to prevent diabetes-induced cardiac damage. The peptide inhibits body fat formation by around 19% and fasting glucose levels by approximately 23%. These are the outcome of decreased insulin resistance. The mice models under consideration show less systolic and diastolic dysfunction than controls, resulting in less cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, apoptosis, and fibrosis.

The peptide can protect other bodily tissues against ischemia. Oxytocin treatment protects against ischemia-reperfusion damage in rat models with priapism (persistent erection) via lowering nitric oxide levels.


Cognitive Performance

Through scientific investigations, Oxytocin has been shown to enhance hormone levels related to neuron growth in the prefrontal cortex in maternally deprived mice. Although no overall behavioral changes were observed, the group’s cognitive performance increased following Oxytocin treatment. Other studies in mice found that Oxytocin delivered intranasally appeared to promote learning in a non-statistically significant way under stressful situations.


Oxytocin and its Effects on Muscles

Researchers say the compound may be a powerful auxiliary in muscle maintenance and regeneration. It also causes a decrease in insulin levels with age, possibly due to age-related muscle atrophy (sarcopenia). According to a Berkeley study, a decline in Oxytocin levels with age leads to decreased Oxytocin receptors on muscle stem cells. The injection of the peptide causes a quick reversal of the muscle-withering effects. This is vital since the muscle requires breakdown and repair for natural maintenance and growth. Scientists believe it may be a valuable ally in the battle against age-related organ degradation and gradual malfunction.



Epigenetic alterations in Oxytocin were detected in a study of people with social problems, suggesting that social anxiety may be due to degraded Oxytocin signaling.

According to research, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) has lately been linked to Oxytocin dysregulation. BPD is distinguished by excessive distrust, hypervigilance in the face of danger, and changed nonverbal social interaction. Some of these behavioral characteristics were affected by the administration of Oxytocin in individuals with BPD.

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