Table of Contents
ISRN Neuroscience
Volume 2013, Article ID 179272, 13 pages
Review Article

Nonsocial Functions of Hypothalamic Oxytocin

1Department of Pediatrics, The Fourth Affiliated Hospital, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, Heilongjiang 150001, China
2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Fourth Affiliated Hospital, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, Heilongjiang 150001, China
3Medical Imaging and Diagnostics, Mudanjiang Medical University, Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang 157011, China
4Louisiana State University Medical School, 1501 Kings Highway, Shreveport, LA 71103-4228, USA

Received 29 March 2013; Accepted 23 April 2013

Academic Editors: J. A. Anselmo-Franci and O. J. Bosch

Copyright © 2013 Hai-Peng Yang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Oxytocin (OXT) is a hypothalamic neuropeptide composed of nine amino acids. The functions of OXT cover a variety of social and nonsocial activity/behaviors. Therapeutic effects of OXT on aberrant social behaviors are attracting more attention, such as social memory, attachment, sexual behavior, maternal behavior, aggression, pair bonding, and trust. The nonsocial behaviors/functions of brain OXT have also received renewed attention, which covers brain development, reproduction, sex, endocrine, immune regulation, learning and memory, pain perception, energy balance, and almost all the functions of peripheral organ systems. Coordinating with brain OXT, locally produced OXT also involves the central and peripheral actions of OXT. Disorders in OXT secretion and functions can cause a series of aberrant social behaviors, such as depression, autism, and schizophrenia as well as disturbance of nonsocial behaviors/functions, such as anorexia, obesity, lactation failure, osteoporosis, diabetes, and carcinogenesis. As more and more OXT functions are identified, it is essential to provide a general view of OXT functions in order to explore the therapeutic potentials of OXT. In this review, we will focus on roles of hypothalamic OXT on central and peripheral nonsocial functions.