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Oxytocin and Major Depressive Disorder: Experimental and Clinical Evidence for Links to Aetiology and Possible Treatment

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Author(s): David A. Slattery | Inga D. Neumann

Journal: Pharmaceuticals
ISSN 1424-8247

Volume: 3;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 702;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: neuropeptide | depression | oxytocin | social attachment | early-life

ABSTRACT
Affective disorders represent the most common psychiatric diseases, with substantial co-morbidity existing between major depressive disorders (MDD) and anxiety disorders. The lack of truly novel acting compounds has led to non-monoaminergic based research and hypotheses in recent years. The large number of brain neuropeptides, characterized by discrete synthesis sites and multiple receptors, represent likely research candidates for novel therapeutic targets. The present review summarises the available preclinical and human evidence regarding the neuropeptide, oxytocin, and its implications in the aetiology and treatment of MDD. While the evidence is not conclusive at present additional studies are warranted to determine whether OXT may be of therapeutic benefit in subsets of MDD patients such as those with comorbid anxiety symptoms and low levels of social attachment.
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