Effect of a single neonatal oxytocin treatment (hormonal imprinting) on the biogenic amine level of the adult rat brain: Could oxytocin-induced labor cause pervasive developmental diseases?

F. Hashemi, Kornélia Tekes, R. Laufer, P. Szegi, L. Tóthfalusi, G. Csaba

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Perinatal single-hormone treatment causes hormonal imprinting with lifelong consequences in receptor-binding capacity, hormone production as well as in social and sexual behavior. In the present experiments, newborn rats were treated with a single dose of oxytocin, and the levels of biogenic amines and their metabolites were studied in 8 different brain regions and in the sera when the male and female animals were 4 months old. Both dopaminergic and serotonergic neurotransmission was found to be significantly influenced. The levels of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid, homovanillic acid, and 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid metabolites decreased in the hypothalamus and striatum. Dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and 5-hydroxytryptophol levels were hardly altered, and there was no difference in the epinephrine levels. The results show that dopamine and serotonin metabolism of hypothalamus and striatum are deeply and lifelong influenced by a single neonatal oxytocin treatment Oxytocin imprinting resulted in decreased dopamine turnover in the hypothalamus and decreased serotonin turnover in the hypothalamus, medulla oblongata, and striatum of females. As the disturbance of brain dopamine and serotonin system has an important role in the development of pervasive developmental diseases (eg, autism) and neuropsychiatric disorders (eg, schizophrenia), the growing number of oxytocin-induced labor as a causal factor, cannot be omitted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1255-1263
Number of pages9
JournalReproductive Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2013



  • autism
  • hormonal imprinting
  • neonatal treatments
  • oxytocin
  • parturition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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