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Int Rev Cytol. 2007;263:253-86.

Oxytocin and the human prostate in health and disease.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, University of Otago, New Zealand.


Oxytocin is a peptide hormone produced by the neurohypophysis. The discovery that the peptide is produced locally within the male and female reproductive tracts has raised the possibility that oxytocin may have paracrine and autocrine actions outside of the nervous system. Oxytocin and its receptor have been identified in the human prostate. The prostate is an androgen-dependent organ whose function is to secrete components of the seminal fluid. Oxytocin has been shown to modulate contractility of prostate tissue and also to regulate local concentrations of the biologically active androgens. Oxytocin has also been shown to regulate cell growth. Prostate disease is common and results from abnormal growth of the gland. Oxytocin concentrations are altered in both benign and malignant prostate diseases and in vitro studies suggest that the peptide may be involved in the pathophysiology of these diseases.

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