Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 375, Issue 1, pp 85–91 | Cite as

The interplay between oxytocin and the CRF system: regulation of the stress response

  • Julia WinterEmail author
  • Ben Jurek
At-a-glance article


Oxytocin (OT) has drawn the attention of researchers since 1930. Since then, many aspects of oxytocin have been uncovered, such as reproductive functions, dampening anxiety, enhancing socioemotional behavior, or regulating genomic effects on a cellular level. Here, we want to focus on the interaction between the OT system and the stress/corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF)-system of the brain. Depending on the nature of the stressor, OT is released simultaneously or directly after the stress from the neurohypophysis into the periphery and/or via somato-dendritic release in stress-sensitive brain areas. This stress-induced OT release might serve to modulate or dampen the stress response; however, the functional relevance is not yet fully understood. In this review, we will describe the effects of OT and discuss the interplay between OT and CRF on a cellular, physiological, and behavioral level.


Oxytocin Corticotropin releasing factor Stress HPA axis PVN 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Behavioral and Molecular Neurobiology, Institute of ZoologyUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany

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