Effects of oxytocin on responses to nociceptive and non-nociceptive stimulation in the upper central nervous system

Hidehisa Saito, Shizu Hidema, Ayano Otsuka, Jun Suzuki, Michio Kumagai, Akihiro Kanaya, Toru Murakami, Yusuke Takei, Kazutomo Saito, Shigekazu Sugino, Hiroaki Toyama, Ryuta Saito, Teiji Tominaga, Katsuhiko Nishimori, Masanori Yamauchi

研究成果: Article査読

2 被引用数 (Scopus)


Oxytocin is known as a social bonding hormone, but it also functions as an anxiolytic or analgesic neurotransmitter. When oxytocin regulates pain or anxiousness centrally as a neurotransmitter, it is secreted by neurons and directly projected to targeted regions. Although the function of oxytocin at the spinal level is well studied, its effects at the supraspinal level are poorly understood. We aimed to investigate the effect of oxytocin at the supraspinal level in vivo using C57BL/6J (wild-type [WT]), oxytocin-deficient (Oxt−/−), oxytocin receptor-deficient (Oxtr−/−), and oxytocin receptor-Venus (OxtrVenus/+) mice lines. Response thresholds in Oxtr−/− mice in Hargreaves and von-Frey tests were significantly lower than those in WT mice, whereas open field and light/dark tests showed no significant differences. Moreover, response thresholds in Oxt−/− mice were raised to those in WT mice after oxytocin administration. Following the Hargreaves test, we observed the co-localisation of c-fos with Venus or the oxytocin receptor in the periaqueductal gray (PAG), medial amygdala (MeA), and nucleus accumbens (NAc) regions in OxtrVenus/+ mice. Furthermore, in the PAG, MeA, and NAc regions, the co-localisation of oxytocin with c-fos and gamma-aminobutyric acid was much stronger in Oxtr−/− mice than in WT mice. However, following von-Frey test, the same findings were observed only in the MeA and NAc regions. Our results suggest that oxytocin exerts its analgesic effect on painful stimulation via the PAG region and a self-protective effect on unpleasant stimulation via the MeA and NAc regions.

ジャーナルBiochemical and biophysical research communications
出版ステータスPublished - 2021 10月 15

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • 生物理学
  • 生化学
  • 分子生物学
  • 細胞生物学


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