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Neuroendocrinology. 1988 Aug;48(2):204-6.

Inhibitory action of exogenous oxytocin on plasma cortisol in normal human subjects: evidence of action at the adrenal level.

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Psychoneuroendocrinology Section, CHU, University of Li├Ęge, Belgium.


In previous studies we demonstrated that exogenous oxytocin induces a decrease of basal and stimulated cortisol and ACTH plasma levels in the normal male. To rule out the possibility that oxytocin could also act at the adrenal level, we tested, in the present work, the influence of exogenous oxytocin on the cortisol increase secondary to the intravenous injection of a supraphysiological dose (0.25 mg) of synthetic ACTH1-24 (Synachten) in 9 normal male volunteers. We demonstrate that oxytocin infusion does not modify the ACTH plasma levels but, however, induces a decreased cortisol response to ACTH1-24. These results support the hypothesis that, beside its hypophysial inhibitory action on ACTH release, oxytocin acts also at the adrenal gland level to decrease cortisol release and/or synthesis in normal human subjects.

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