Oxytocin pathways and the evolution of human behavior.

  title={Oxytocin pathways and the evolution of human behavior.},
  author={C. Sue Carter},
  journal={Annual review of psychology},
  • C. Carter
  • Published 3 January 2014
  • Biology, Psychology
  • Annual review of psychology
This review examines the hypothesis that oxytocin pathways--which include the neuropeptide oxytocin, the related peptide vasopressin, and their receptors--are at the center of physiological and genetic systems that permitted the evolution of the human nervous system and allowed the expression of contemporary human sociality. Unique actions of oxytocin, including the facilitation of birth, lactation, maternal behavior, genetic regulation of the growth of the neocortex, and the maintenance of the… 

The Role of Oxytocin and Vasopressin in Attachment.

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Experimental studies of species, such as sheep or prairie voles, capable of showing selective social behaviors toward offspring or partners, have provided empirical evidence for the role of oxytocin and vasopressin in the formation of selective attachments.

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The proposed role of the oxytocinergic system in autism spectrum disorder and Williams syndrome are outlined, two neurodevelopmental disorders where a dysfunctional oxytoc inergic system is thought to lead to difficulties in social behavior.

Involvement of oxytocin receptor deficiency in psychiatric disorders and behavioral abnormalities

This review focuses on the progress of OXTR's functions, intrinsic mechanisms, and its correlations with psychiatric disorders or deficits in behaviors and hopes that this review can provide a deep insight into the study of OxTR-involved psychiatric disorders.

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Oxytocin and love: Myths, metaphors and mysteries

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The fact that OT and VP receptors are variable, across species, individuals, and brain region, and these receptors are capable of being epigenetically tuned may help to explain experience-related individual and sex differences in behaviors that are regulated by these peptides.

Is Oxytocin a Maternal–Foetal Signalling Molecule at Birth? Implications for Development

The role of endogenous and exogenous oxytocin as a neurochemical signal to the foetal nervous system is focused on and the possible developmental consequences, including those associated with autism spectrum disorder, that arise from exogenous Oxytocin supplementation during labour are examined.

Oxytocin and oxygen: the evolution of a solution to the ‘stress of life’

Emerging evidence suggesting that unique properties of the OT system allowed vertebrates, and especially mammals, to manage over-reactivity to the ‘side effects’ of oxygen, including inflammation, oxidation and free radicals, while also supporting high levels of sociality and a perception of safety is discussed.

Oxytocin and Estrogen Receptor β in the Brain: An Overview

A role for OT is found in this estrogen receptor β-mediated anxiolytic effect and further research is needed to identify modulators of OT signaling and the pathways utilized to allow better therapeutic manipulations of this system in patient populations.

Oxytocin, vasopressin and sociality.

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The oxytocin receptor system: structure, function, and regulation.

The regulation by gonadal and adrenal steroids is one of the most remarkable features of the OT system and is, unfortunately, the least understood.

Oxytocin, Vasopressin, and the Neurogenetics of Sociality

There is growing evidence that the neuropeptides oxytocin and vasopressin modulate complex social behavior and social cognition and suggest that variation in the genes encoding their receptors may contribute to variation in human social behavior by altering brain function.

Oxytocin and Vasopressin Are Dysregulated in Williams Syndrome, a Genetic Disorder Affecting Social Behavior

Results indicate that WS deleted genes perturb hypothalamic-pituitary release not only of OT but also of AVP, implicating more complex neuropeptide circuitry for WS features and providing evidence for their roles in endogenous regulation of human social behavior.

Molecular evolution of the oxytocin-oxytocin receptor system in eutherians.

A common allele in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) impacts prosocial temperament and human hypothalamic-limbic structure and function

Evidence for structural alterations in key oxytocinergic regions emerged, particularly in the hypothalamus, and these neural characteristics predicted lower levels of reward dependence in male risk allele carriers.

Oxytocin/Vasopressin-Related Peptides Have an Ancient Role in Reproductive Behavior

Quantitative analysis indicates that mating motor patterns are fragmented and inefficient in mutants, suggesting that oxytocin/vasopressin peptides increase the coherence of mating behaviors, and results indicate that conserved molecules coordinate diverse behavioral motifs in reproductive behavior.