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Type: Journal article
Title: Early social environment affects the endogenous oxytocin system: a review and future directions
Author: Alves, E.
Fielder, A.
Ghabriel, N.
Sawyer, M.
Buisman-Pijlman, F.
Citation: Frontiers in Endocrinology, 2015; 6(MAR):1-6
Publisher: Frontiers
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 1664-2392
Statement of
Emily Alves, Andrea Fielder, Nerelle Ghabriel, Michael Sawyer, and FemkeT.A. Buisman-Pijlman
Abstract: Endogenous oxytocin plays an important role in a wide range of human functions including birth, milk ejection during lactation, and facilitation of social interaction. There is increasing evidence that both variations in the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) and concentrations of oxytocin are associated with differences in these functions.The causes for the differences that have been observed in tonic and stimulated oxytocin release remain unclear. Previous reviews have suggested that across the life course, these differences may be due to individual factors, e.g., genetic variation (of the OXTR), age or sex, or be the result of early environmental influences, such as social experiences, stress, or trauma partly by inducing epigenetic changes. This review has three aims. First, we briefly discuss the endogenous oxytocin system, including physiology, development, individual differences, and function. Second, current models describing the relationship between the early life environment and the development of the oxytocin system in humans and animals are discussed. Finally, we describe research designs that can be used to investigate the effects of the early environment on the oxytocin system, identifying specific areas of research that need further attention.
Keywords: oxytocin; early-life environment; research design; individual differences; mother–infant bonding
Rights: © 2015 Alves, Fielder, Ghabriel, Sawyer and Buisman-Pijlman. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
RMID: 0030025116
DOI: 10.3389/fendo.2015.00032
Appears in Collections:Pharmacology publications

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