What is Oxytocin?

Oxytocin is a naturally produced peptide, which has been linked to certain cognitive functions which control hormone release, hypothesized to be implicated in bonding mechanisms, sexual stimulation, and fetal development. Animal studies have suggested that Oxytocin may also exert impacts on weight regulation within the organism via the reduction of caloric intake. 

It seems this is accomplished by regulating the activation of circuits that motivate animals to eat for reward. Dopaminergic bodies originate in the ventral tegmental region (VTA), a component of this route. It is thought that the reduction in food appetite is a downstream result of Oxytocin binding to the oxytocin receptors in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). 

Oxytocin Peptide and Weight

New data points to the hypothalamic neuropeptide hormone oxytocin as an important CNS player in controlling caloric intake and body mass index. If Oxytocin is considered a neurohormonal weight reduction substance, research into the processes that may cause its anorexigenic effects in research models is essential. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover studies, research models who were overweight or obese were given a single concentration of Oxytocin. Following the delivery of Oxytocin or placebo, subjects were made to perform a well-established paradigm for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of food motivation.

Researchers postulated that Oxytocin might dampen the ventral tegmental area’s (VTA) response to visual cues representing high-calorie food instead of non-food stimuli. The VTA is the birthplace of the mesolimbic dopaminergic reward system. In response to stimuli involving high-calorie foods, those who had received Oxytocin appeared to have bilateral VTA hypoactivation, in contrast to those who had received a placebo.

After comparing Oxytocin and placebo, a secondary exploratory whole-brain analysis indicated that certain regions were less active in the areas responsible for hedonic and homeostatic food motivation (the hypothalamus) and more active in the areas responsible for cognitive control (the anterior cingulate and frontopolar cortex).

The findings implied that the BOLD signal in reward-related food motivation brain areas may be reduced after Oxytocin presentation, suggesting a possible neurobiological explanation for the anorexigenic potential of Oxytocin in research models. The results also purport that cognitive control areas, essential for controlling food intake and hormonal spiking, appear more activated after Oxytocin, but homeostatic regions seem less activated. 

Oxytocin Peptide and Sex

Although data on social chemo-signaling in research models is mounting, the current understanding of the processes involved is limited. Researchers tested the hypothesis that the two neuropeptides Vasopressin and Oxytocin may be involved in the unconscious interpretation of the chemo signals androsta-4,16,-dien-3-one and estra-1,3,5 (10),16-tetraen-3-ol. This chemosensory communication appeared to be consistently blocked by a competitive antagonist of both Oxytocin and Vasopressin receptors, according to psychophysical data acquired from research models. The modulation of androstadiene and estratetraenol decoding by Oxytocin, in contrast to Vasopressin, appeared concentration-dependent, nonmonotonic, and reliant on the social proficiency of the receivers. When considered as a whole, these results suggest that neuroendocrine parameters may be directly related to the subliminal chemosensory communications between sexes in research models.

Emerging studies aim to evaluate and characterize the potential of the multifunctional nonapeptide in the context of pathological behaviors, suggesting that it may play a role in social behavior. Consequently, there is a compelling need to create and implement new technical resources that will allow researchers to use Oxytocin congeners fully.

Visit biotechpeptides.com if you are a licensed professional interested in purchasing high-quality Oxytocin for your research studies. Please note that none of the substances mentioned in this article have been approved for human consumption and should not be used by unlicensed individuals. This article and all of the other articles on this blog serve for educational purposes only.


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[ii] Takumi Oti, Keita Satoh, Daisuke Uta, Junta Nagafuchi, Sayaka Tateishi, Ryota Ueda, Keiko Takanami, Larry J. Young, Antony Galione, John F. Morris, Tatsuya Sakamoto, Hirotaka Sakamoto,Oxytocin Influences Male Sexual Activity via Non-synaptic Axonal Release in the Spinal Cord,Current Biology,Volume 31, Issue 1,2021,Pages 103-114.e5, ISSN 0960-9822, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2020.09.089.

[iii] Kepu Chen, Yuting Ye, Nikolaus F Troje, Wen Zhou (2021) Oxytocin modulates human chemosensory decoding of sex in a dose-dependent manner eLife 10:e59376 https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.59376

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