Oxytocin key to treating abdominal pain: Study

By Philaso G. Kaping | Updated: Jan 31, 2014, 20:13 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau\Philaso G Kaping

New Delhi: Oxytocin, known as the love hormone, might be the key to treating chronic abdominal pain, according to a new study.

Researchers, led by Professor Paul Alewood from the University of Queensland and the University of Adelaide's Dr Stuart Brierley, have developed a version of the hormone oxytocin to treat chronic abdominal pain, according to a press statement.

Oxytocin is a hormone that a plays a huge role in sexual reproduction and social bonding.

This new version has improved stability and showed significant potential in alleviating abdominal pain.

"It can potentially survive in the digestive tract until it reaches the gut," said Professor Alewood. "This molecule acts on oxytocin nerve receptors in the bowel, which display increased sensitivity in conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome."

There are no drugs to directly treat this condition despite a high number of sufferers.

According to the study, it had no effect on healthy gut tissue, which was an important advantage in drug development where minimising side effects is crucial.

The finding is published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.