Skip to main content

Oxytocin increases the survival of musculocutaneous flaps


The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of oxytocin on survival of musculocutaneous flaps in male Sprague-Dawley rats. For this purpose oxytocin (0.1 or 1.0 mg/kg), an oxytocin antagonist (1-deamino-2-D-Tyr-(OEt)-4-Thr-8-Orn-oxytocin) (1.0 mg/kg) alone or in combination with oxytocin (1.0 mg/kg) or saline was given subcutaneously (s.c.), 24 hours and 1 hour before and 24 hours after flap surgery. In addition, oxytocin (1 µg/kg) or saline was given intracerebroventricularly (i.c.v.) according to the same schedule. Six days after surgery the amount of viable tissue was measured. Oxytocin 1.0 (but not 0.1) mg/kg s.c. and 1.0 µg/kg i.c.v. increased survival of the flaps (s.c.: 13.8±14.6% versus 6.10±5.45%; p<0.05 and i.c.v.: 25.5±14.0% versus 10.3±5.79%; p<0.01). This effect was abolished by the oxytocin antagonist. Furthermore, the oxytocin-treated rats had significantly higher plasma levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) (p<0.05). These data indicate that oxytocin increases the survival of musculocutaneous flaps. The effect seems to be exerted within the central nervous system since a 1000 fold lower dose of oxytocin given i.c.v. increased flap survival to the same extent as the s.c. given dose. IGF-1 might be one of the mediators of this effect.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Author information



Additional information

Received: 18 December 1997 / Accepted: 18 March 1998

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Petersson, M., Lundeberg, T., Sohlström, A. et al. Oxytocin increases the survival of musculocutaneous flaps. Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Arch Pharmacol 357, 701–704 (1998).

Download citation

  • Key words Oxytocin
  • Rat
  • Musculocutaneous flap
  • Wound healing
  • Oxytocin antagonist
  • Growth factors
  • IGF-1