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Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2012 Jul;32(5):891-6. doi: 10.1007/s10571-012-9799-1. Epub 2012 Jan 18.

Effect of oxytocin on neuroblastoma cell viability and growth.

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Institute of Experimental Endocrinology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia.


Oxytocin, released in response to different physiological stimuli, could play a key role in reducing stress reaction. It was suggested that it has protective effect against inflammation and consequences of oxidative stress. Mechanisms how oxytocin effects mediated in the brain tissue are unclear. In this study, oxytocin effect on cell growth and neuronal viability was examined. Human neuroblastoma (SH-SY5Y and SK-N-SH) and glioblastoma (U87MG) cells were exposed to different concentrations of oxytocin for 12-96 h. Potential protective effect of oxytocin treatment was investigated after exposing cells to oxidative stress using hydrogen peroxide (50 mM, 2 h) or 6-hydroxydopamine (25 μM, 24 h). Cell proliferation was measured by cell counting and cell viability was examined by MTT assay. Protein expression of selected neurotrophic factors was measured as an additional parameter. Oxytocin (1 μM) significantly increased cell number in all three cell types. Viability of SH-SY5Y cells was increased in the presence of oxytocin without significant effect of dose (0.01-1 μM). Cell death induced by hydrogen peroxide was not prevented by incubation with oxytocin. Oxytocin pretreatment blunted neurotoxin 6-OHDA reduction of cell viability in SH-SY5Y cells. Oxytocin (1 μM, 12 h) elevated amount of total proteins without increasing levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and neurotrophic growth factor. In conclusion, oxytocin increases growth and viability of neuroblastoma and glioblastoma cells without activation of neurotrophic factors. Oxytocin does not have protective effect in oxidative stress; however, it might be important for neuroprotection to dopaminergic neurons. Its proliferative effect might be important in native cell life, euplastic processes, and tumor progression.

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