Recent studies have considered oxytocin (Oxt) as a possible medicine to treat obesity and hyperphagia. To find the effective and safe route for Oxt treatment, we compared the effects of its nasal and intraperitoneal (IP) administration on food intake, locomotor activity, and glucose tolerance in mice. Nasal Oxt administration decreased food intake without altering locomotor activity and increased the number of c-Fos-immunoreactive (ir) neurons in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus, the area postrema (AP), and the dorsal motor nucleus of vagus (DMNV) of the medulla. IP Oxt administration decreased food intake and locomotor activity and increased the number of c-Fos-ir neurons not only in the PVN, AP, and DMNV but also in the nucleus of solitary tract of the medulla and in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. In IP glucose tolerance tests, IP Oxt injection attenuated the rise of blood glucose, whereas neither nasal nor intracerebroventricular Oxt affected blood glucose. In isolated islets, Oxt administration potentiated glucose-induced insulin secretion. These results indicate that both nasal and IP Oxt injections reduce food intake to a similar extent and increase the number of c-Fos-ir neurons in common brain regions. IP Oxt administration, in addition, activates broader brain regions, reduces locomotor activity, and affects glucose tolerance possibly by promoting insulin secretion from pancreatic islets. In comparison with IP administration, the nasal route of Oxt administration could exert a similar anorexigenic effect with a lesser effect on peripheral organs.
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