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Drug Discov Today Dis Mech. 2013 Jun 1;10(1-2):e63-e68.

A New Horizon: Oxytocin as a Novel Therapeutic Option for Obesity and Diabetes.

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Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Diabetes Research Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461.


The story of oxytocin (OXT) began long ago in evolutionary terms with its recognition as a classical neurohypophyseal hormone important for lactation and uterine contraction. With the recent discovery of its local actions in the brain, its previously-unappreciated diverse functions in regulating social behaviors and metabolic physiology are emerging. In light of metabolic control, OXT has been shown to induce feeding restriction and body weight lowering through acting on brain regulatory regions, in particular the hypothalamus. Studies from pharmacologic interventions and genetic manipulations demonstrated that OXT can play significant roles in affecting glucose metabolism as well as insulin secretion and lipolysis, many of those functions being regulated both centrally and peripherally. Also excitingly, recent therapeutic success was obtained in clinical endeavor showing that OXT nasal spray effectively induced weight loss and metabolic improvement in human patients with obesity, thus further indicating OXT as a tangible drug target for treating obesity and metabolic complications. In addition to the native form, OXT-derived analogues have been found effective in inducing body weight control and glucose balance. Altogether, all recent advances in studying OXT and metabolic regulation has promoted a promising foundation for the therapeutic strategy of developing innovative OXT peptidyl drugs for the treatment of obesity and related metabolic diseases.

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