Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Oxytocin Attenuates Stress-Induced c-fos mRNA Expression in Specific Forebrain Regions Associated with Modulation of Hypothalamo-Pituitary-Adrenal Activity

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Colin Ingram


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


We reported previously that the neuropeptide oxytocin attenuates stress-induced hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activity and anxiety behavior. This study sought to identify forebrain target sites through which oxytocin may mediate its anti-stress effects. Ovariectomized, estradiol-treated rats received intracerebroventricular infusions of oxytocin (1 or 10 ng/hr) or vasopressin (10 ng/hr), and the patterns of neuronal activation after restraint stress were determined by semiquantitative mapping of c-fos mRNA expression. Oxytocin administration significantly attenuated the release of ACTH and corticosterone and the increase in corticotropin-releasing factor mRNA expression in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) in response to 30 min restraint. Restraint also induced the expression of c-fos mRNA in selective regions of the forebrain, including the PVN, paraventricular thalamic nucleus, habenula, medial amygdala, ventrolateral septum (LSV), most subfields of the dorsal and ventral hippocampus, and piriform and endopiriform cortices. In most cases, this level of gene expression was unaffected by concomitant administration of oxytocin. However, in the PVN, LSV, and throughout all subfields of the dorsal hippocampus, restraint evoked no detectable increase in c-fos mRNA in animals treated with either dose of oxytocin. Vasopressin had no effects on either HPA axis responses or neuronal activation in response to restraint, indicating that the effects were highly peptide selective. These data show that central oxytocin attenuates both the stress-induced neuroendocrine and molecular responses of the HPA axis and that the dorsal hippocampus, LSV, and PVN constitute an oxytocin-sensitive forebrain stress circuit.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Windle RJ, Kershaw YM, Shanks N, Wood SA, Lightman SL, Ingram CD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Neuroscience

Year: 2004

Volume: 24

Issue: 12

Pages: 2974-2982

ISSN (print): 0270-6474

ISSN (electronic): 1529-2401

Publisher: Society for Neuroscience


DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3432-03.2004

PubMed id: 15044536


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric