Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

The Role of Oxytocin in the Stress and Anxiety Response.

Mantella, Rose C (2005) The Role of Oxytocin in the Stress and Anxiety Response. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (3MB) | Preview


Centrally released oxytocin (OT) is believed to attenuate stress-induced activation of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis as well as being anxiolytic. Therefore, it is expected that OT deficient (OT-/-) mice that do not synthesize or release OT centrally or peripherally will display enhanced HPA axis activation, as well as increased anxiety-related behavior compared to wildtype (OT+/+) mice. To test this hypothesis, OT-/- mice were exposed to shaker stress, (psychogenic stressor), cholecystokinin- (CCK) administration (physical stressor), or the elevated plus maze (EPM), a behavioral test of anxiety. Female OT-/- mice released more corticosterone than OT+/+ mice in response to shaker stress. Shaker stress exposure activated Fos in OT neurons of the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN) of male and female OT+/+ mice and corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) within the PVN of male and female mice of both genotypes. In addition, shaker stress exposure revealed that Fos expression in the medial nucleus of the amygdala (MeA) was lower in female OT-/- than OT+/+ mice. Genotypic differences in corticosterone release and Fos activation of the MeA in response to shaker stress exposure were not observed in male mice. Furthermore, similar genotypic (and/or sex) differences were not revealed in response to CCK-administration. OT is also anxiolytic in female mice. Female OT-/- mice tested in the EPM displayed increased anxiety-related behavior compared to OT+/+ mice. In response to EPM exposure Fos expression in the MeA was greater in female OT-/- mice than OT+/+ mice. Surprisingly, male OT-/- mice tested in the EPM displayed decreased anxiety-related behavior compared to OT+/+ mice, but did not display genotypic differences in the Fos expression within the MeA. The results of this thesis suggest that OT is anxiolytic and attenuates HPA activation in female, but not male mice. Furthermore, it appears that OT plays a modulatory role in the processing of psychogenic stressors, but may not be involved in the processing of physical or systemic stressors. More specifically, it is possible that OT plays a role in behavioral and physiological responses that depend upon neuronal processing within the MeA.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Mantella, Rose Crcmst22@pitt.eduRCMST22
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairAmico, Janet Ajamico@pitt.eduJAMICO
Committee MemberRinaman, Lindarinaman@pitt.eduRINAMAN
Committee MemberVollmer, Regis Rvollm@pitt.eduVOLLM
Committee MemberPoloyac, Samuel Mpoloyac@pitt.eduPOLOYAC
Committee MemberCorey, Sharon Ecoreyse@pitt.eduCOREYSE
Date: 31 January 2005
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 12 October 2004
Approval Date: 31 January 2005
Submission Date: 17 December 2004
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Pharmacy > Pharmaceutical Sciences
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: corticosteroid receptors; corticosterone; knock-out; oxytocin antagonist
Other ID:, etd-12172004-164451
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:11
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:54


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item