Original Research

Oxytocin: a short review

P. F. Levay, M. Viljoen, H. S. Meij
Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie | Vol 12, No 3 | a564 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/satnt.v12i3.564 | © 1993 P. F. Levay, M. Viljoen, H. S. Meij | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 July 1993 | Published: 09 July 1993

About the author(s)

P. F. Levay,, South Africa
M. Viljoen,, South Africa
H. S. Meij,, South Africa

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Abstract

Oxytocin is traditionally associated with parturition and lactation. The similarity in oxytocin plasma levels in males and females implies a wider physiological role for the hormone. Oxytocin would now appear to be involved not only in milk ejection, but also in the production of milk. The hormone has further been shown to play a paracrine role in menstruation and to be of importance for normal fertilisation. Several endocrine modulatory as well as neurotransmitter effects have also been reported for oxytocin. The discovery of the role of oxytocin in central nervous system processes such as pain, anxiety, memory and learning has stimuluted a search for possible therapeutic applications of oxytocin in cases such as chronic pain and Alzheimer’s disease. A short review is presented of some of the biochemical and physiological aspects underlying the functions and possible therapeutic applications of oxytocin.

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