Oxytocin Signaling in the Early Life of Mammals: Link to Neurodevelopmental Disorders Associated with ASD

  • Françoise MuscatelliEmail author
  • Michel G. Desarménien
  • Valery Matarazzo
  • Valery Grinevich
Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 35)


Oxytocin plays a role in various functions including endocrine and immune functions but also parent–infant bonding and social interactions. It might be considered as a main neuropeptide involved in mediating the regulation of adaptive interactions between an individual and his/her environment. Recently, a critical role of oxytocin in early life has been revealed in sensory processing and multi-modal integration that are essential for normal postnatal neurodevelopment. An early alteration in the oxytocin-system may disturb its maturation and may have short-term and long-term pathological consequences such as autism spectrum disorders. Here, we will synthesize the existing literature on the development of the oxytocin system and its role in the early postnatal life of mammals (from birth to weaning) in a normal or pathological context. Oxytocin is required in critical windows of time that play a pivotal role and that should be considered for therapeutical interventions.


Oxytocin Autism spectrum disorders Oxytocin receptor Neonatal period Neurodevelopment Prader-Willi syndrome 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Françoise Muscatelli
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michel G. Desarménien
    • 2
  • Valery Matarazzo
    • 1
  • Valery Grinevich
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Institut de Neurobiologie de la Méditerranée, INMED UMR U901, INSERM, Aix-Marseille UniversitéMarseilleFrance
  2. 2.Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle, CNRS, INSERM, Université de MontpellierMontpellierFrance
  3. 3.Schaller Research Group on Neuropeptides, German Cancer Research CenterUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  4. 4.Central Institute of Mental HealthUniversity of HeidelbergMannheimGermany

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