Skip to main content
Log in

Association between salivary oxytocin levels and the amygdala and hippocampal volumes

  • Original Article
  • Published:
Brain Structure and Function Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Salivary oxytocin levels have been widely measured and studied in relation to social behavior because of procedural simplicity and noninvasiveness. Although the relationship between oxytocin levels in the blood and the hippocampus and amygdala is now becoming clear with reliable blood oxytocin studies, few studies have examined the relationship between salivary oxytocin and the brain function and structure. This study aimed to investigate whether the salivary oxytocin level is associated with the volume of the amygdala and hippocampus in 178 adults (92 women and 86 men) in their third to seventh decade of life. We performed volumetric analysis of the amygdala and hippocampus using FreeSurfer and measured salivary oxytocin levels using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The results showed contradictory effects of the salivary oxytocin level on the amygdala volume by sex and no significant effect on the hippocampal volume. Specifically, men showed a positive correlation between the salivary oxytocin level and amygdala volume, whereas women showed a negative correlation between the salivary oxytocin level and amygdala volume. The present study’s finding of sex differences in the association between salivary oxytocin and brain structure supports previous findings that there are sex differences in the oxytocin system.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1

Similar content being viewed by others

Data availability

All relevant data are within the article and Supporting Information files.

References

Download references

Acknowledgements

We thank Yoshie Matsumoto, Yang Li, Toko Kiyonari and Atsushi Miyazaki for their help with conducting the study and Takefumi Kikusui for his help with measuring salivary oxytocin levels.

Funding

This work was supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science KAKENHI Grant Number, JP19H04915. This research was supported by AMED under Grant Number JP18dm0307001.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

QS, JY, TM, and HT designed the research; KN and HT collected the data; QS and HT analyzed the data; QS, KN, MM, and HT conducted hormone analysis; and QS and HT drafted the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Haruto Takagishi.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors have no relevant financial or non-financial interests to disclose.

Ethics approval

All experimental protocols in this research project were approved by the Ethics Committee of Tamagawa University (approval no. TRE18-036). The procedures used in this study adhere to the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki.

Consent to participate

All participants provided written informed consent prior to the experiment.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary Information

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary file1 (XLSX 24 KB)

Supplementary file2 (DOCX 283 KB)

Rights and permissions

Springer Nature or its licensor holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Shou, Q., Yamada, J., Nishina, K. et al. Association between salivary oxytocin levels and the amygdala and hippocampal volumes. Brain Struct Funct 227, 2503–2511 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00429-022-02543-5

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00429-022-02543-5

Keywords

Navigation