Intranasal oxytocin enhances intrinsic corticostriatal functional connectivity in women
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Bethlehem, R., Lombardo, M., Lai, M., Auyeung, B., Crockford, S., Deakin, J., Soubramanian, S., et al. (2017). Intranasal oxytocin enhances intrinsic corticostriatal functional connectivity in women. Translational Psychiatry, 7 (e1099)https://doi.org/10.1038/tp.2017.72
Oxytocin may influence various human behaviors and the connectivity across subcortical and cortical networks. Previous oxytocin studies are male biased and often constrained by task-based inferences. Here, we investigate the impact of oxytocin on resting-state connectivity between subcortical and cortical networks in women. We collected resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data on 26 typically developing women 40 min following intranasal oxytocin administration using a double-blind placebo-controlled crossover design. Independent components analysis (ICA) was applied to examine connectivity between networks. An independent analysis of oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene expression in human subcortical and cortical areas was carried out to determine plausibility of direct oxytocin effects on OXTR. In women, OXTR was highly expressed in striatal and other subcortical regions, but showed modest expression in cortical areas. Oxytocin increased connectivity between corticostriatal circuitry typically involved in reward, emotion, social communication, language and pain processing. This effect was 1.39 standard deviations above the null effect of no difference between oxytocin and placebo. This oxytocin-related effect on corticostriatal connectivity covaried with autistic traits, such that oxytocin-related increase in connectivity was stronger in individuals with higher autistic traits. In sum, oxytocin strengthened corticostriatal connectivity in women, particularly with cortical networks that are involved in social-communicative, motivational and affective processes. This effect may be important for future work on neurological and psychiatric conditions (for example, autism), particularly through highlighting how oxytocin may operate differently for subsets of individuals.
During this research RB was funded by the MRC UK, the Pinsent Darwin Trust and the Cambridge Trust. M-CL is supported by the William Binks Autism Neuroscience Fellowship, Cambridge and the O’Brien Scholars Program within the Child and Youth Mental Health Collaborative at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. SB-C is supported by the MRC UK, the Wellcome Trust and the Autism Research Trust. The research was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care East of England at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust.
Department of Health (via National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)) (NF-SI-0515-10097)
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) (via Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) (unknown)
Autism Research Trust (unknown)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/tp.2017.72
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/264002
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