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Physiol Behav. 1996 Nov;60(5):1311-5.

Oxytocin causes a long-term decrease of blood pressure in female and male rats.

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


The aim of the present study was to investigate the long-term effects of oxytocin (OXY) on blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) in conscious female and male rats. For this purpose, subcutaneous (SC) (0.01, 0.1, and 1 mg/kg) or intracerebroventricular (ICV) (1 microgram/kg) injections of OXY were given during 5-day periods. BP and HR were measured daily. A significant decrease in BP, without affecting HR, compared to saline-treated controls was seen in response to 0.1 (males: p < 0.01, females: p < 0.001) and 1 mg/kg (p < 0.001) of OXY given SC. BP gradually returned to preexperimental levels within 10 days after the last injection in male rats but, in females, the significant lowering of BP remained unchanged during this period. Also OXY ICV (1 microgram/kg) decreased BP (p < 0.05 after one day, p < 0.001 after 5 days of injections). This effect was still present 8 days after the last injection (p < 0.05). These results indicate that OXY may induce a long-term lowering of BP.

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