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Oxytocin and the maternal brain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-734
Number of pages4
JournalCurrent Opinion in Pharmacology
Volume8
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008

Abstract

Oxytocin released within the brain from both magnocellular and parvocellular systems of the hypothalamus has diverse effects on behavior. When oxytocin is released within the brain, its effects are to diminish fearfulness; this not only encourages social investigation of newcomers, but also may enhance a tendency to express aggression toward an intruder. Oxytocin supports social recognition, redirects behavior away from feeding directed behavior toward sexual behavior, and facilitates the formation of social bonds. This system, which depends not only upon release of oxytocin but also on oxytocin receptor distribution within the brain. becomes particularly important at parturition, when a bond is first formed between mother and offspring.

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