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Oxytocin is a nonapeptide hormone and neurotransmitter involved in numerous sexual, reproductive, affiliative, and prosocial features in men and women.
Sources and Secretion
Oxytocin, the principle uterine-contracting and milk-ejecting hormone of the posterior pituitary, was discovered by Henry Dale in 1906 and was named in 1920 (oxy = quick, tocin = birth). It is a nonapeptide and was the first polypeptide hormone to be sequenced and synthesized in biologically active form by Du Vigneaud et al. 1954, which won him the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1955. It is now known that it has a wide spectrum of actions acting not only at the peripheral organ level but centrally as a neuromodulator/neurotransmitter.
Centrally, oxytocin is made in the body of the neurosecretory cells of the hypothalamic supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei and is released into the blood stream from the ends of their axons in the posterior pituitary. It is also released...
- Du Vigneaud, V. R. C., Swan, J. M., Roberts, C. W., & Katsoyannis, P. G. (1954). Oxytocin: Synthesis. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 76, 315–321.Google Scholar
- Levin, R. J. (2017a). The oxytocin released by the human female orgasm boosts sperm transport to enhance fertility- a new review of an outdated zombie concept. Journal of Pharmacology & Clinical Toxicology, 5, 1096.Google Scholar