Chronic oxytocin administration as a tool for investigation and treatment: A cross-disciplinary systematic review


Oxytocin (OT) subserves various physiological, behavioral, and cognitive processes. This paired with the ability to administer OT with minimal and inconsistent side effects has spurred research to explore its therapeutic potential. Findings from single-dose studies indicate that OT administration may be beneficial, at least under certain circumstances. The state of the field, however, is less clear regarding effects from chronic OT administration, which more closely resembles long-term treatment. To address this gap, this review synthesizes existing findings on the use of chronic OT administration in animal and human work. In addition to detailing the effects of chronic OT administration across different functional domains, this review highlights factors that have contributed to mixed findings. Based on this review, a basic framework of interrelated regulatory functions sensitive to chronic OT administration is offered. The paper also identifies future research directions across different contexts, populations, and outcomes, specifically calling for more systematic and standardized research on chronic OT administration in humans to supplement and expand what is currently known from preclinical work.

Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews