Document Detail

Relation of oxytocin to psychological stress responses and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis activity in older women.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16554389     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
OBJECTIVE: Animal research suggests that oxytocin (OT) plays a role in stress responses and that in females, this role is modulated by estrogen. Yet little is known about the relation of OT to human stress responses. This study was conducted to examine the relations between estrogen activity and OT, identify stressors distinctively associated with elevations in OT, and investigate whether OT is related to cardiovascular and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) activity in a laboratory challenge paradigm. METHODS: Seventy-three postmenopausal women who were on hormone therapy (HT) or not completed questionnaires assessing psychological distress and social relationships and then participated in a laboratory stress challenge (Trier Social Stress Task), during which OT, cortisol, and blood pressure were assessed. RESULTS: HT was significantly associated with higher plasma OT. Controlling for HT, elevated plasma OT was significantly associated with gaps in social relationships, with less positive relationships with a primary partner, and with elevated cortisol levels. OT was not associated with stress reactivity or recovery. CONCLUSION: In women, plasma OT signals relationship stress and is associated with elevated cortisol; it does not appear to significantly affect cortisol or blood pressure responses to acute stress.
Shelley E Taylor; Gian C Gonzaga; Laura Cousino Klein; Peifeng Hu; Gail A Greendale; Teresa E Seeman
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Psychosomatic medicine     Volume:  68     ISSN:  1534-7796     ISO Abbreviation:  Psychosom Med     Publication Date:    2006 Mar-Apr
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-03-23     Completed Date:  2006-07-18     Revised Date:  2007-11-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0376505     Medline TA:  Psychosom Med     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  238-45     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Blood Pressure / physiology
Estrogens / blood
Hormone Replacement Therapy*
Hydrocortisone / blood
Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / drug effects,  physiology
Interpersonal Relations
Middle Aged
Oxytocin / biosynthesis*,  blood
Pituitary-Adrenal System / drug effects,  physiology
Social Isolation / psychology
Stress, Psychological / blood,  physiopathology*,  psychology
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Estrogens; 50-23-7/Hydrocortisone; 50-56-6/Oxytocin

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