Behavioral Pharmacology of Neuropeptides: Oxytocin (PDF) collects leading-edge expert reviews in the oxytocin field and will be of interest to a broad scientific audience ranging from social neuroscience to clinical psychiatry. The part of the neuropeptide oxytocin in social behaviors is one of the earliest and most important discoveries in social neuroscience. Influential studies in animal models have defined many of the neural circuits and genetic components that underlie these behaviors. These discoveries have motivated researchers to investigate the effects of oxytocin on brain and behavior in humans and its possible relevance as a treatment for psychiatric disorders including autism and borderline personality disorder and schizophrenia spectrum disorders. In fact, there is no established social psychopharmacology in Psychiatry, and oxytocin can be seen as the first endogenous agent specifically addressing social-cognitive impairment in psychiatric disorders, with animal research indicating that it could be especially efficient in the early postnatal period. From a human perspective, it is vital to understand more accurately who can benefit from potential oxytocin-related treatments, which outcome measures will best demonstrate their effects, how they should be administered, and what brain mechanisms are likely included in mediating their effects. This type of “precision medicine” approach is in line with the research domain criteria explained by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.
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