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Oxytocin’s effect on resting-state functional connectivity varies by age and sex
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2016 (English)In: Psychoneuroendocrinology, ISSN 0306-4530, E-ISSN 1873-3360, Vol. 69, 50-59 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The neuropeptide oxytocin plays a role in social cognition and affective processing. The neural processes underlying these effects are not well understood. Modulation of connectivity strength between subcortical and cortical regions has been suggested as one possible mechanism. The current study investigated effects of intranasal oxytocin administration on resting-state functional connectivity between amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), as two regions involved in social-cognitive and affective processing. Going beyond previous work that largely examined young male participants, our study comprised young and older men and women to identify age and sex variations in oxytocin’s central processes. This approach was based on known hormonal differences among these groups and emerging evidence of sex differences in oxytocin’s effects on amygdala reactivity and age-by-sex-modulated effects of oxytocin in affective processing. In a double-blind design, 79 participants were randomly assigned to self-administer either intranasal oxytocin or placebo before undergoing resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Using a targeted region-to-region approach, resting-state functional connectivity strength between bilateral amygdala and mPFC was examined. Participants in the oxytocin compared to the placebo group and men compared to women had overall greater amygdala–mPFC connectivity strength at rest. These main effects were qualified by a significant three-way interaction: while oxytocin compared to placebo administration increased resting-state amygdala–mPFC connectivity for young women, oxytocin did not significantly influence connectivity in the other age-by-sex subgroups. This study provides novel evidence of age-by-sex differences in how oxytocin modulates resting-state brain connectivity, furthering our understanding of how oxytocin affects brain networks at rest.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 69, 50-59 p.
Keyword [en]
oxytocin, aging, sex, resting-state functional connectivity, amygdala, medial prefrontal cortex
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-128477DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.03.013OAI: diva2:915243

This work was supported by the Department of Psychology at University of Florida, the McKnight Brain Research Foundation, and the University of Florida Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory, as well as a University of Florida Clinical and Translational Science pilot award (NIH/NCATS; UL1 TR000064), and a Scientific Research Network on Decision Neuroscience and Aging pilot award (NIH/NIA, R24 AG039350) to NCE.

Available from: 2016-03-29 Created: 2016-03-29 Last updated: 2016-06-30Bibliographically approved

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Fischer, Håkan
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