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Infant cues, such as smiling or crying facial expressions, are powerful motivators of human maternal behavior, activating dopamine-associated brain reward circuits. Oxytocin, a neurohormone of attachment, promotes maternal care in animals, although its role in human maternal behavior is unclear. We examined 30 first-time new mothers to test whether(More)
OBJECTIVE We examined whether the magnitude of plasma oxytocin (OT), norepinephrine (NE), cortisol, and blood pressure (BP) responses before and after a brief episode of warm contact (WC) with the spouse/partner may be related to the strength of perceived partner support. METHODS Subjects were 38 cohabiting couples (38 men, 38 women) aged 20 to 49 years.(More)
In animals, ventral stroking for >5 days increases oxytocin (OT) activity and decreases blood pressure (BP), but related human studies are few. Thus, relationships between self-reported frequency of partner hugs, plasma OT and BP levels were examined in 59 premenopausal women before and after warm contact with their husbands/partners ending with hugs.(More)
Cardiovascular reactivity is a potential mechanism underlying associations of close relationship quality with cardiovascular disease. Two models describe oxytocin as another mechanism. The "calm and connect" model posits an association between positive relationship experiences and oxytocin levels and responses, whereas the "tend and befriend" model(More)
The neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) enhances maternal behavior and decreases blood pressure (BP) and stress responses in animals. Thus, the relationship of OT responsivity to BP in 14 breast- and 11 bottle-feeding mothers of infants was examined. Laboratory BP was assessed during baseline, speech preparation, active speech, and recovery on 2 days, 1 in which(More)
The first observations of postpartum oxytocin knockout (OTKO) mice found no maternal behavior deficits. However, it is unclear how detailed those observations were. In this study, we compared maternal behavior exhibited by OTKO and wild-type (WT) nullipara toward six 2-4-day-old foster pups during test sessions conducted on 3 successive days. Each day,(More)
OBJECTIVE Oxytocin is a hypothalamic neuropeptide that plays a key role in mammalian female reproductive function. Animal research indicates that central oxytocin facilitates adaptive social attachments and modulates stress and anxiety responses. Major depression is prevalent among postpubertal females, and is associated with perturbations in social(More)
Two populations of oxytocin-staining neurons have been identified in the paraventricular nucleus: magnocellular neurons that terminate in the posterior pituitary and parvocellular neurons that terminate elsewhere in the central nervous system. Whether these oxytocin neurons are functionally separate was tested by measuring oxytocin concentrations in samples(More)
Age-associated alterations in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis functioning may make individuals more susceptible to HPA dysregulation in the context of mood and anxiety disorders. Little to no research has been done to examine HPA axis function in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), particularly in late-life GAD, the most prevalent anxiety disorder(More)
Oxytocin (OT) has been implicated in the cardiovascular responses to exercise, stress, and baroreflex adjustments. Studies were conducted to determine the effect of genetic manipulation of the OT gene on blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), and autonomic/baroreflex function. OT knockout (OTKO -/-) and control +/+ mice were prepared with chronic arterial(More)