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Arch Ital Biol. 2011 Jun;149(2):265-8. doi: 10.4449/aib.v149i2.1367.

NGF and romantic love.

Author information

  • Department of Health Sciences, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy. enzo.em@libero.it


Romantic love is the catalyst behind the spread of the human life. The neurobiology of love embraces the hypothesis that what we call "romantic attachment" or "romantic love" may be at least in part the expression of biological factors. A corollary of this hypothesis states that it is possible to learn much about the nature of human love by studying the molecules involved in the expression of social and affiliative behaviours. Under this theoretical framework, we have investigated the changes in plasma neurotrophin levels in subjects with early stage romantic love. A positive association between the intensity of early romantic feelings and serum levels of nerve growth factor (NGF) has been identified. These findings link love with biologically relevant pathways for neuron survival and illuminate the biochemical correlates of such a complex feeling that so deeply affects our own lives. The progresses in the neurobiology of love suggest that this kind of research may open a new window onto our understanding of the very nature of human romantic bonding.

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