Early social environment affects the endogenous oxytocin system: A review and future directions

Emily Alves, Andrea Fielder, Nerelle Ghabriel, Michael Sawyer, Femke T.A. Buisman-Pijlman

Research output: Contribution to journalShort survey

Abstract

Endogenous oxytocin plays an important role in a wide range of human functions including birth, milk ejection during lactation, and facilitation of social interaction. There is increasing evidence that both variations in the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) and concentrations of oxytocin are associated with differences in these functions. The causes for the differences that have been observed in tonic and stimulated oxytocin release remain unclear. Previous reviews have suggested that across the life course, these differences may be due to individual factors, e.g., genetic variation (of the OXTR), age or sex, or be the result of early environmental influences, such as social experiences, stress, or trauma partly by inducing epigenetic changes. This review has three aims. First, we briefly discuss the endogenous oxytocin system, including physiology, development, individual differences, and function. Second, current models describing the relationship between the early life environment and the development of the oxytocin system in humans and animals are discussed. Finally, we describe research designs that can be used to investigate the effects of the early environment on the oxytocin system, identifying specific areas of research that need further attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number00032
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
Volume6
Issue numberMAR
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Social Environment
Oxytocin
Oxytocin Receptors
Milk Ejection
Interpersonal Relations
Lactation
Epigenomics
Individuality
Direction compound
Research Design
Parturition
Wounds and Injuries
Research

Keywords

  • Early-life environment
  • Individual differences
  • Mother-infant bonding
  • Oxytocin
  • Research design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

Cite this

Early social environment affects the endogenous oxytocin system : A review and future directions. / Alves, Emily; Fielder, Andrea; Ghabriel, Nerelle; Sawyer, Michael; Buisman-Pijlman, Femke T.A.

In: Frontiers in Endocrinology, Vol. 6, No. MAR, 00032, 2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalShort survey

Alves, Emily ; Fielder, Andrea ; Ghabriel, Nerelle ; Sawyer, Michael ; Buisman-Pijlman, Femke T.A. / Early social environment affects the endogenous oxytocin system : A review and future directions. In: Frontiers in Endocrinology. 2015 ; Vol. 6, No. MAR.
@article{542b76e221284c1ab2782618c8d9f9be,
title = "Early social environment affects the endogenous oxytocin system: A review and future directions",
abstract = "Endogenous oxytocin plays an important role in a wide range of human functions including birth, milk ejection during lactation, and facilitation of social interaction. There is increasing evidence that both variations in the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) and concentrations of oxytocin are associated with differences in these functions. The causes for the differences that have been observed in tonic and stimulated oxytocin release remain unclear. Previous reviews have suggested that across the life course, these differences may be due to individual factors, e.g., genetic variation (of the OXTR), age or sex, or be the result of early environmental influences, such as social experiences, stress, or trauma partly by inducing epigenetic changes. This review has three aims. First, we briefly discuss the endogenous oxytocin system, including physiology, development, individual differences, and function. Second, current models describing the relationship between the early life environment and the development of the oxytocin system in humans and animals are discussed. Finally, we describe research designs that can be used to investigate the effects of the early environment on the oxytocin system, identifying specific areas of research that need further attention.",
keywords = "Early-life environment, Individual differences, Mother-infant bonding, Oxytocin, Research design",
author = "Emily Alves and Andrea Fielder and Nerelle Ghabriel and Michael Sawyer and Buisman-Pijlman, {Femke T.A.}",
year = "2015",
doi = "10.3389/fendo.2015.00032",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "6",
journal = "Frontiers in Endocrinology",
issn = "1664-2392",
publisher = "Frontiers Media S. A.",
number = "MAR",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Early social environment affects the endogenous oxytocin system

T2 - A review and future directions

AU - Alves, Emily

AU - Fielder, Andrea

AU - Ghabriel, Nerelle

AU - Sawyer, Michael

AU - Buisman-Pijlman, Femke T.A.

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - Endogenous oxytocin plays an important role in a wide range of human functions including birth, milk ejection during lactation, and facilitation of social interaction. There is increasing evidence that both variations in the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) and concentrations of oxytocin are associated with differences in these functions. The causes for the differences that have been observed in tonic and stimulated oxytocin release remain unclear. Previous reviews have suggested that across the life course, these differences may be due to individual factors, e.g., genetic variation (of the OXTR), age or sex, or be the result of early environmental influences, such as social experiences, stress, or trauma partly by inducing epigenetic changes. This review has three aims. First, we briefly discuss the endogenous oxytocin system, including physiology, development, individual differences, and function. Second, current models describing the relationship between the early life environment and the development of the oxytocin system in humans and animals are discussed. Finally, we describe research designs that can be used to investigate the effects of the early environment on the oxytocin system, identifying specific areas of research that need further attention.

AB - Endogenous oxytocin plays an important role in a wide range of human functions including birth, milk ejection during lactation, and facilitation of social interaction. There is increasing evidence that both variations in the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) and concentrations of oxytocin are associated with differences in these functions. The causes for the differences that have been observed in tonic and stimulated oxytocin release remain unclear. Previous reviews have suggested that across the life course, these differences may be due to individual factors, e.g., genetic variation (of the OXTR), age or sex, or be the result of early environmental influences, such as social experiences, stress, or trauma partly by inducing epigenetic changes. This review has three aims. First, we briefly discuss the endogenous oxytocin system, including physiology, development, individual differences, and function. Second, current models describing the relationship between the early life environment and the development of the oxytocin system in humans and animals are discussed. Finally, we describe research designs that can be used to investigate the effects of the early environment on the oxytocin system, identifying specific areas of research that need further attention.

KW - Early-life environment

KW - Individual differences

KW - Mother-infant bonding

KW - Oxytocin

KW - Research design

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84926626348&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84926626348&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3389/fendo.2015.00032

DO - 10.3389/fendo.2015.00032

M3 - Short survey

C2 - 25814979

AN - SCOPUS:84926626348

VL - 6

JO - Frontiers in Endocrinology

JF - Frontiers in Endocrinology

SN - 1664-2392

IS - MAR

M1 - 00032

ER -