Oxytocin has been linked to social behavior, including social recognition, pair bonding and parenting, but its potential role in promoting neuronal growth has not been investigated. We show here that oxytocin, but not vasopressin, stimulates both cell proliferation and adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus of rats. Oxytocin is also capable of stimulating adult neurogenesis in rats subjected to glucocorticoid administration or cold water swim stress. These findings suggest that oxytocin stimulates neuronal growth and may protect against the suppressive effects of stress hormones on hippocampal plasticity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cell proliferation
- Hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis