Oxytocin is a hormone that is made in the brain, in the hypothalamus, and it is transported to, and secreted by the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain. Sometimes called the “pleasure hormone” — better known for its role in inducing sexual attraction and orgasm, regulating breast-feeding and promoting maternal-infant bonding.
A recent study from NYU Langone Medical Center shows how the powerful hormone acts on individual brain cells to prompt specific social behaviors. The study also leads to a better understanding of how oxytocin and other hormones could be used to treat behavioral problems resulting from disease or trauma to the brain.
In experiments with mice, Dr. Froemke and his team mapped oxytocin to unique receptor cells in the left side of the brain’s cortex. They found that the hormone controls the volume of “social information” processed by individual neurons, curbing so-called excitatory or…
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