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Psychiatry Res Neuroimaging. 2017 Sep 30;267:45-50. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2017.06.015. Epub 2017 Jun 28.

Oxytocin effects on emotional response to others' faces via serotonin system in autism: A pilot study.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Neurobiology, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan.
2
Department of Psychiatry and Neurobiology, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan. Electronic address: hirosawatetsu1982@yahoo.co.jp.
3
Department of Psychiatry and Neurobiology, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan; Research Center for Child Mental Development, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan.
4
Department of Biofunctional Imaging, Medical Photonics Research Center, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Hamamatsu, Japan.
5
Research Center for Child Mental Development, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan.
6
Research Center for Child Mental Development, University of Fukui, Japan.
7
Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Hamamatsu, Japan.
8
Central Research Laboratory, Hamamatsu Photonics KK, Hamamatsu, Japan.

Abstract

The oxytocin (OT)-related serotonergic system is thought to play an important role in the etiology and social symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, no evidence exists for the relation between the prosocial effect of chronic OT administration and the brain serotonergic system. Ten male subjects with ASD were administered OT for 8-10 weeks in an open-label, single-arm, non-randomized, uncontrolled manner. Before and during the OT treatment, positron emission tomography was used with the (11C)-3-amino-4-(2-[(demethylamino)methyl]phenylthio)benzonitrile(11C-DASB) radiotracer. Then binding of serotonin transporter (11C-DASB BPND) was estimated. The main outcome measures were changes in 11C-DASB BPND and changes in the emotional response to others' faces. No significant change was found in the emotional response to others' faces after the 8-10 week OT treatment. However, the increased serotonin transporter (SERT) level in the striatum after treatment was correlated significantly with increased negative emotional response to human faces. This study revealed a relation between changes in the serotonergic system and in prosociality after chronic OT administration. Additional studies must be conducted to verify the chronic OT effects on social behavior via the serotonergic system.

KEYWORDS:

Autism; Clinical trial; Oxytocin; Positron emission tomography; Serotonin transporter

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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