Washington: New study has revealed that neurons in brain cells are responsive towards oxytocin that plays a major role in social and sexual behavior of individuals.
The neurons, found in the prefrontal cortex, may play a role in other oxytocin-related social behaviors such as intimacy, love, or mother-child bonding.
Miho Nakajima of The Rockefeller University discovered a population of neurons in the medial prefrontal cortex that express the oxytocin receptor.
Oxytocin-responsive neurons are found in many brain structures, highlighting the importance of the hormone for a variety of social behaviors. The findings showed that a new class of oxytocin-responsive neurons regulated an important aspect of female social behavior in mice.
The work highlighted the importance of the prefrontal cortex in social and sexual behaviors and suggested that this critical cell population may mediate other aspects of behavior in response to the elevated oxytocin levels that occur in a variety of different contexts.
But it is not clear which cells are targeted by oxytocin, or how the hormone affects neural circuits.
The study was published by Cell Press on October 9th in the journal Cell.