Scientific article

Receptors and neural effects of oxytocin in the rodent hypothalamus and preoptic region

Published inCiba Foundation symposium, vol. 168, p. 187-199;discussion200-188
Publication date1992

Vasopressin and oxytocin are produced in and secreted from not only hypothalamo-hypophysial neurons which shed their products into the circulation to act as hormones or releasing factors, but also from neurons whose axons form tracts which remain within the central nervous system. Using tritiated or radioiodinated ligands, binding sites for vasopressin and for oxytocin have been detected by in vitro autoradiography. In the rat hypothalamus binding sites for vasopressin are present in the suprachiasmatic, sigmoid and arcuate nuclei, and oxytocin receptors in the area of the ventromedial nucleus. Electrophysiological evidence obtained using single cell recordings in slices suggests that oxytocin-binding sites present in the ventromedial hypothalamus and in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis mostly represent functional, neuronal receptors. The expression of these receptors (but not of the vasopressin receptors) depends on gonadal steroid hormones, as does that of uterine and mammary gland oxytocin receptors. Modifications of the hormonal status associated with, for example, puberty and lactation cause 'up-regulation' of central and peripheral oxytocin receptors. The central administration of oxytocin facilitates (and the administration of oxytocin agonists inhibits) maternal behaviour and the milk ejection reflex, therefore the hormonal and neural actions of oxytocin appear to be complementary in ensuring the birth and development of the offspring.

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Female
  • Hypothalamus/ physiology
  • Mammary Glands, Animal/physiology
  • Neurons/drug effects/ physiology
  • Oxytocin/ pharmacology/ physiology
  • Preoptic Area/ physiology
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Angiotensin/ physiology
  • Receptors, Oxytocin
  • Receptors, Vasopressin/physiology
  • Uterus/physiology
Citation (ISO format)
DREIFUSS, Jean-Jacques et al. Receptors and neural effects of oxytocin in the rodent hypothalamus and preoptic region. In: Ciba Foundation symposium, 1992, vol. 168, p. 187–199;discussion200–188.
ISSN of the journal0300-5208

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