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Akitsugu Konno, Miho Inoue-Murayama, Shinji Yabuta, Akiko Tonoike, Miho Nagasawa, Kazutaka Mogi, Takefumi Kikusui
Drug detection dogs can be trained to locate various prohibited drugs with targeted odors, and they play an important role in the interdiction of drug smuggling in human society. Recent studies provide the interesting hypothesis that the oxytocin system serves as a biological basis for co-evolution between dogs and humans. Here, we offer the new possibility that genetic variation of the canine oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene may regulate the success of a dog's training to become a drug detection dog. A total of 340 Labrador Retriever dogs that were trained to be drug detection dogs in Japan were analyzed...
March 10, 2018: Journal of Heredity
Sabrina Krause, Christina Boeck, Anja M Gumpp, Edit Rottler, Katharina Schury, Alexander Karabatsiakis, Anna Buchheim, Harald Gündel, Iris-Tatjana Kolassa, Christiane Waller
Background: Child maltreatment (CM) and attachment experiences are closely linked to alterations in the human oxytocin (OXT) system. However, human data about oxytocin receptor (OXTR) protein levels are lacking. Therefore, we investigated oxytocin receptor (OXTR) protein levels in circulating immune cells and related them to circulating levels of OXT in peripheral blood. We hypothesized reduced OXTR protein levels, associated with both, experiences of CM and an insecure attachment representation. Methods: OXTR protein expressions were analyzed by western blot analyses in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and plasma OXT levels were determined by radioimmunoassay (RIA) in 49 mothers...
2018: Frontiers in Psychology
Tsachi Ein-Dor, Willem J M I Verbeke, Michal Mokry, Pascal Vrtička
Attachment in the context of intimate pair bonds is most frequently studied in terms of the universal strategy to draw near, or away, from significant others at moments of personal distress. However, important interindividual differences in the quality of attachment exist, usually captured through secure versus insecure - anxious and/or avoidant - attachment orientations. Since Bowlby's pioneering writings on the theory of attachment, it has been assumed that attachment orientations are influenced by both genetic and social factors - what we would today describe and measure as gene by environment interaction mediated by epigenetic DNA modification - but research in humans on this topic remains extremely limited...
March 7, 2018: Attachment & Human Development
Sanne Tops, Ute Habel, Sina Radke
Oxytocin and the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) play an important role in a large variety of social behaviors. The oxytocinergic system interacts with environmental cues and is highly dependent on interindividual factors. Deficits in this system have been linked to mental disorders associated with social impairments, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This review focuses on the modulation of social behavior by alterations in two domains of the oxytocinergic system. We discuss genetic and epigenetic regulatory mechanisms and alterations in these mechanisms that were found to have clinical implications for ASD...
March 2, 2018: Hormones and Behavior
Ilaria Cataldo, Atiqah Azhari, Gianluca Esposito
Oxytocin ( OXT ) and arginine-vasopressin ( AVP ) play a key regulatory part in social and affiliative behaviors; two aspects highly compromised in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Furthermore, variants in the adjacent oxytocin-vasopressin gene regions have been found to be associated with ASD diagnosis and endophenotypes. This review focuses mainly on common OXTr single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), AVPR1a microsatellites and AVPR1b polymorphisms in relation to the development of autism. Although these genes did not surface in genome-wide association studies, evidence supports the hypothesis that these receptors and their polymorphisms are widely involved in the regulation of social behavior, and in modulating neural and physiological pathways contributing to the etiology of ASD...
2018: Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience
Fevzi Tuna Ocakoğlu, Sezen Köse, Burcu Özbaran, Hüseyin Onay
INTRODUCTION: Previous studies showed the association of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene. We aimed to explore the OXTR gene single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the ASD severity categories based on DSM-5. METHOD: The whole encoding regions of the human OXTR gene were sequenced to identify the SNPs in 100 Turkish children with ASD. Genotypes of detected SNPs were also compared with the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) scores...
January 31, 2018: Asian Journal of Psychiatry
Lucía Colodro-Conde, Juan F Sanchez-Romera, Penelope A Lind, Gu Zhu, Nicholas G Martin, Sarah E Medland, Juan R Ordoñana
Oxytocin has an important function in breastfeeding via its role in the milk ejection reflex and in attachment and bonding processes. Genetic factors account for a significant part of the individual differences in breastfeeding behaviour. OXT and OXTR have been proposed as gene candidates for breastfeeding. Previous studies have focused on certain single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within these genes, finding null or inconsistent results. The present study analyses the associations between a wide coverage of polymorphisms in OXT and OXTR and breastfeeding duration from two large and independent unselected samples comprising a total of 580 and 2,112 female twin mothers from the Murcia Twin Registry (MTR; Spain) and QIMR (Australia), respectively...
February 7, 2018: Genes, Brain, and Behavior
Natalie C Ebner, Tian Lin, Melis Muradoglu, Devon H Weir, Gabriela M Plasencia, Travis S Lillard, Hossein Pournajafi-Nazarloo, Ronald A Cohen, C Sue Carter, Jessica J Connelly
The neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) has been implicated in a wide range of affiliative processes. OT exerts its functions via OT receptors, which are encoded by the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR). Epigenetic modification of OXTR through the process of DNA methylation has been associated with individual differences in behavioral phenotypes. Specifically, lower levels of OXTR methylation have been linked to better social and affective functioning. However, research on epigenetic mechanisms of OXTR is scarce in non-clinical populations, and even less is known about epigenetic variability across adulthood...
February 2, 2018: International Journal of Psychophysiology
Megan Galbally, Joanne Ryan, Marinus van IJzendoorn, Stuart J Watson, Olav Spigset, Martha Lappas, Richard Saffery, Ron de Kloet, Andrew James Lewis
The aim of this study was to investigate placental DNA methylation of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) in women with depression in pregnancy. We also explored the role of antidepressant medication in pregnancy on placental OXTR methylation. Data were obtained from 239 women in the Mercy Pregnancy and Emotional Wellbeing Study (MPEWS), a selected pregnancy cohort. Current depressive disorders were diagnosed using the Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (SCID-IV)...
January 4, 2018: Psychoneuroendocrinology
Anna Truzzi, Jessie Poquérusse, Peipei Setoh, Kazuyuki Shinohara, Marc H Bornstein, Gianluca Esposito
The oxytocinergic system is highly involved in social bonding and early caregiver-infant interactions. Here, we hypothesize that oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene genotype and parental bonding history interact in influencing social development. To address this question, we assessed adult males' arousal (heart rate changes) in response to different distress vocalizations (human female, human infant and bonobo). Region rs53576 of the OXTR gene was genotyped from buccal mucosa cell samples, and a self-report Parental Bonding Instrument was used (which provide information about parental care or parental overprotection)...
January 22, 2018: Developmental Psychobiology
Miriam A Schiele, Barbara Costa, Marianna Abelli, Claudia Martini, David S Baldwin, Katharina Domschke, Stefano Pini
OBJECTIVES: Complicated grief (CG) following bereavement significantly increases the risk for mood and anxiety disorders. The severity of grief reactions may be interactively influenced by temperamental and psychological factors such as behavioural inhibition (BI) and separation anxiety (SA) as well as biological factors. Given its central role in attachment and stress processing, a genetic variant in the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene was thus investigated in order to elucidate the direction of association as well as its interaction with BI and SA in the moderation of CG severity...
January 22, 2018: World Journal of Biological Psychiatry
Arvind Palanisamy, Ramaswamy Kannappan, Zhiqiang Xu, Audrey Martino, Matthew B Friese, Justin D Boyd, Gregory Crosby, Deborah J Culley
Synthetic oxytocin (sOT) is widely used during labor, yet little is known about its effects on fetal brain development despite evidence that it reaches the fetal circulation. Here, we tested the hypothesis that sOT would affect early neurodevelopment by investigating its effects on neural progenitor cells (NPC) from embryonic day 14 rat pups. NPCs expressed the oxytocin receptor (OXTR), which was downregulated by 45% upon prolonged treatment with sOT. Next, we examined the effects of sOT on NPC death, apoptosis, proliferation, and differentiation using antibodies to NeuN (neurons), Olig2 (oligodendrocytes), and GFAP (astrocytes)...
2018: PloS One
Yanmei Zhang, Chunxia Wu, Hongjuan Chang, Qiuge Yan, Linguo Wu, Shanshan Yuan, Jingjing Xiang, Wen Hao, Yizhen Yu
BACKGROUND: Accumulating evidence suggests that genetic and environmental factors may influence aggression susceptibility. However, the etiology of aggressive behavior remains unknown. Compared to some extensively studied candidate genes of aggression, very little is known about the OXTR gene. The objective of this study was to determine whether OXTR genetic variants were associated with aggression risk and whether these polymorphisms showed interactive effects with childhood maltreatment on aggression in Chinese adolescents...
December 21, 2017: Journal of Affective Disorders
Yu-Ting Lin, Tsan-Yu Hsieh, Tsung-Chih Tsai, Chien-Chung Chen, Chiung-Chun Huang, Kuei-Sen Hsu
Oxytocin (OXT) receptors (OXTRs) are prominently expressed in hippocampal CA2 and CA3 pyramidal neurons, but little is known about its physiological function. As the functional necessity of hippocampal CA2 for social memory processing, we tested whether CA2 OXTRs may contribute to long-term social recognition memory (SRM) formation. Here, we found that conditional deletion of Oxtr from forebrain (Oxtr-/-) or CA2/CA3a-restricted excitatory neurons in adult male mice impaired the persistence of long-term SRM but had no effect on sociability and preference for social novelty...
December 26, 2017: Journal of Neuroscience: the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Phillip C Watts, Eva R Kallio, Esa Koskela, Eija Lonn, Tapio Mappes, Mikael Mokkonen
The loci arginine vasopressin receptor 1a (avpr1a) and oxytocin receptor (oxtr) have evolutionarily conserved roles in vertebrate social and sexual behaviour. Allelic variation at a microsatellite locus in the 5' regulatory region of these genes is associated with fitness in the bank vole Myodes glareolus Given the low frequency of long and short alleles at these microsatellite loci in wild bank voles, we used breeding trials to determine whether selection acts against long and short alleles. Female bank voles with intermediate length avpr1a alleles had the highest probability of breeding, while male voles whose avpr1a alleles were very different in length had reduced probability of breeding...
December 20, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Farzeen Kader, Meenu Ghai, Leah Maharaj
DNA methylation is a fundamental epigenetic modification in the human genome; pivotal in development, genomic imprinting, X inactivation, chromosome stability, gene expression and methylation aberrations are involved in an array of human diseases. Methylation at promoters is associated with transcriptional repression, whereas gene body methylation is generally associated with gene expression. Extrinsic factors such as age, diets and lifestyle affect DNA methylation which consequently alters gene expression...
December 10, 2017: Behavioural Brain Research
Gloria Antobreh, Istvan Enyedy, Aina Westrheim Ravna
AIM: Low oxytocin (OT) level is involved in a number of psychiatric diseases, indicating that OT could be used to aid treating these disorders. OT itself is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier, and development of new small nonpeptide drugs targeting the OT receptor (OXTR) may be beneficial for treating mental disorders. Results & methodology: Three OXTR models were constructed based on crystallized homologous proteins (Protein Data Bank [PDB]: 2Y00, PDB: 4BVN and PDB: 4LDE). The abilities of the models to discriminate between true binders and decoys were analyzed using receiver operating characteristics curves, and the 4LDE-based model gave the best result...
December 13, 2017: Future Medicinal Chemistry
Tara Raam, Kathleen M McAvoy, Antoine Besnard, Alexa H Veenema, Amar Sahay
Oxytocin receptor (Oxtr) signaling in neural circuits mediating discrimination of social stimuli and affiliation or avoidance behavior is thought to guide social recognition. Remarkably, the physiological functions of Oxtrs in the hippocampus are not known. Here we demonstrate using genetic and pharmacological approaches that Oxtrs in the anterior dentate gyrus (aDG) and anterior CA2/CA3 (aCA2/CA3) of mice are necessary for discrimination of social, but not non-social, stimuli. Further, Oxtrs in aCA2/CA3 neurons recruit a population-based coding mechanism to mediate social stimuli discrimination...
December 8, 2017: Nature Communications
Andre B Veras, Mara Getz, Robert C Froemke, Antonio Egidio Nardi, Gilberto Sousa Alves, Julie Walsh-Messinger, Moses V Chao, Thorsten M Kranz, Dolores Malaspina
BACKGROUND: Oxytocin is a peptide hormone that influences the integration of social cognition with behavior and affect regulation. Oxytocin also prominently directs the transition of neuronal GABA neurotransmission from excitatory to inhibitory after birth. The oxytocin receptor (OXTR) is linked to schizophrenia, a heterogeneous syndrome. Relationships of OXTR polymorphisms with specific clinical features could aid in evaluating any role of oxytocin in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia...
February 2018: Journal of Psychiatric Research
Izabela Milaniak, Charlotte A M Cecil, Edward D Barker, Caroline L Relton, Tom R Gaunt, Wendy McArdle, Sara R Jaffee
Emerging research in epigenetics has shown that there is variability in how environmental exposures "get under the skin" through mechanisms like DNA methylation to influence gene expression that may lead to differential adaptations to stress. This is the first study to examine prospectively the relationship between DNA methylation at birth and resilience to prenatal environmental stressors in several domains (conduct, hyperactivity, emotional problems, and global symptomatology) in middle childhood. We focused on DNA methylation in the vicinity of the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene as it has been previously associated with impairments in social-cognitive processes that may underlie a wide range of childhood psychopathology...
December 2017: Development and Psychopathology
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