Functional role of intrahypothalamic release of oxytocin and vasopressin: consequences and controversies

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This brief review of vasopressin (VP) and oxytocin (OT) release into the extracellular space of the supraoptic (SON) and paraventricular (PVN) nuclei focuses on recent data illustrating the significance of their intranuclear release and the potential functional consequences. With the use of in vitro techniques, it has been demonstrated that administration of exogenous OT causes local peptide release and that, in vivo, this facilitates the milk ejection reflex. These findings lead to the idea that endogenous peptides are released into the hypothalamic nuclei. Microperfusion techniques have been used to monitor the dynamics of intranuclear OT and VP release in response to distinct stimuli. It is clear that intranuclear release of OT plays a role during reproductive states (parturition and lactation) and that intranuclear release of VP and OT is involved in osmoregulation. This review discusses 1) the origin of the intranuclearly released peptides, 2) stimuli which cause release into the hypothalamic nuclei, and 3) the function of intranuclear VP and OT, e.g., regulation of local morphology, feedback mechanisms and synchronization, and the possible role in regulating autonomic function and behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E537-45
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number4 Pt 1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1995

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamus
  • Labor, Obstetric
  • Lactation
  • Neuropeptides
  • Oxytocin
  • Pregnancy
  • Stimulation, Chemical
  • Vasopressins


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