The love hormone may be ineffective in forming social bonds

Using the CRISPR gene editing technique, researchers removed the oxytocin receptors in meadow voles and discovered to their disbelief that these mammals are still related to each other. Manoli still remembers the moment one of the study’s authors, Kristen Brandzen, walked into the lab and told him the news.

Rats lacking oxytocin receptors, like other rats, could give birth to their young and spend a lot of time cleaning and spending time with their children in addition to nursing them. The behavior of this group of meadow voles was very similar to the voles that still benefited from their oxytocin receptors.

However, children born to mothers lacking oxytocin receptors weighed much less until weaning age. This shows that mothers without receptors had problems in producing milk or breastfeeding. Also, the probability of them surviving and reaching the age of weaning was less than others. As a result, although placental bonding and other important social behaviors were not affected, it seemed that oxytocin receptors still play an important role in offspring development.

Robert Fromke of New York University School of Medicine According to New Scientist says:

Once the initial shock of the news wore off, the findings made more sense, Manoli said. He adds: “It is not surprising that for behaviors as important as dependence, there is not even a single point of failure.”

A more complex system could provide a plausible explanation for the failure of earlier clinical trials of oxytocin in people with social anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, and other disorders. Such experiments are aimed at reducing the difficulties that people experience in forming social attachments and processing social situations appropriately.

According to Devanand Manoli, when the pharmacological results were first published, there was hope that oxytocin could be a major therapeutic intervention; But the trials had contradictory results without significant improvement in the patient’s social behavior. Manoli speculates that oxytocin is just one part of the hormonal mosaic behind social bonds.

Manoli and his colleagues are investigating which chemical processes may be compensated in the brain in the absence of oxytocin receptors. Or is it possible that the hormone oxytocin enables vital social attachments by binding to other receptors in the brain?

The findings of the study in TB journal It has been published.

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