Lege Artis Medicinae

[Oxytocin as a neurotransmitter: beyond the peripheral scope]

VARGA Katalin

DECEMBER 21, 2011

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2011;21(12)

[Besides its effect on the uterus and breasts, oxytocin also regulates affiliative behaviour. The so-called central oxytocin effect influences pair bonding, maternal care and attachment through the regulatory functions of oxytocin that acts as a neurotransmitter within the brain. The central oxytocin effect increases trust and social support, decreases fear and anxiety, and promotes wound healing. These effects form the basis of the stress-triggered, oxytocin-based ‘calm and connection’ reaction. Some methods that are widely used in modern obstretric practice - such as the use of synthetic oxytocin for inducing or speeding up labour or epidural anaesthesia - hinder the psycho-emotive effects that are based on natural oxytocin. Epigenetic studies performed in animals indicate that the oxytocin effect experienced at birth can be transgenerational.]

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