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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015 Jan;40(1):24-42. doi: 10.1038/npp.2014.120. Epub 2014 May 27.

Developmental perspectives on oxytocin and vasopressin.

Author information

1
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA.

Abstract

The related neuropeptides oxytocin and vasopressin are involved in species-typical behavior, including social recognition behavior, maternal behavior, social bonding, communication, and aggression. A wealth of evidence from animal models demonstrates significant modulation of adult social behavior by both of these neuropeptides and their receptors. Over the last decade, there has been a flood of studies in humans also implicating a role for these neuropeptides in human social behavior. Despite popular assumptions that oxytocin is a molecule of social bonding in the infant brain, less mechanistic research emphasis has been placed on the potential role of these neuropeptides in the developmental emergence of the neural substrates of behavior. This review summarizes what is known and assumed about the developmental influence of these neuropeptides and outlines the important unanswered questions and testable hypotheses. There is tremendous translational need to understand the functions of these neuropeptides in mammalian experience-dependent development of the social brain. The activity of oxytocin and vasopressin during development should inform our understanding of individual, sex, and species differences in social behavior later in life.

PMID:
24863032
PMCID:
PMC4262889
DOI:
10.1038/npp.2014.120
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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