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Neuron. 2012 Oct 4;76(1):142-59. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.09.025.

Neuromodulation by oxytocin and vasopressin.

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Centre for Psychiatric Neurosciences, Lausanne University Hospital Center, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Oxytocin (OT) and vasopressin (VP) are two closely related neuropeptides, widely known for their peripheral hormonal effects. Specific receptors have also been found in the brain, where their neuromodulatory actions have meanwhile been described in a large number of regions. Recently, it has become possible to study their endogenous neuropeptide release with the help of OT/VP promoter-driven expression of fluorescent proteins and light-activated ion channels. In this review, I summarize the neuromodulatory effects of OT and VP in different brain regions by grouping these into different behavioral systems, highlighting their concerted, and at times opposite, effects on different aspects of behavior.

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