Effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor treatment on plasma oxytocin and cortisol in major depressive disorder

Charlotte Louise Keating, Tye Dawood, David Anthony Barton, Gavin William Lambert, Alan John Tilbrook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Oxytocin is known for its capacity to facilitate social bonding, reduce anxiety and for its actions on the stress hypothalamopituitary adrenal (HPA) axis. Since oxytocin can physiologically suppress activity of the HPA axis, clinical applications of this neuropeptide have been proposed in conditions where the function of the HPA axis is dysregulated. One such condition is major depressive disorder (MDD). Dysregulation of the HPA system is the most prominent endocrine change seen with MDD, and normalizing the HPA axis is one of the major targets of recent treatments. The potential clinical application of oxytocin in MDD requires improved understanding of its relationship to the symptoms and underlying pathophysiology of MDD. Previous research has investigated potential correlations between oxytocin and symptoms of MDD, including a link between oxytocin and treatment related symptom reduction. The outcomes of studies investigating whether antidepressive treatment (pharmacological and non-pharmacological) influences oxytocin concentrations in MDD, have produced conflicting outcomes. These outcomes suggest the need for an investigation of the influence of a single treatment class on oxytocin concentrations, to determine whether there is a relationship between oxytocin, the HPA axis (e.g., oxytocin and cortisol) and MDD. Our objective was to measure oxytocin and cortisol in patients with MDD before and following treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, SSRI.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 7
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Volume13
Issue numberArt. No.: 124
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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