Oxytocin

Oxytocin is a hormone that is produced in the brain in the hypothalamus and it is stored in the pituitary gland awaiting release when the electrical stimulation occurs. Oxytocin is release in large quantities after the distension of uterus and cervix during labor this helps in facilitating birth and the stimulation of the mother’s nipples and milk let down during breastfeeding. The hormone biosynthesis is regulated by OXT gene and is produced as an inactive precursor before activation; moreover, it is a nonapeptide or is made up 9 amino acids. The amino acids include cysteine-tyrosine-isoleucine-glutamine-asparagine-cysteine-proline-leucine-glycine-amine. The cysteine residue is essential in formation of the disulphide bond, has a molecular mass of 1.007 kilodaltons. The molecular structure of the hormone is closely like that one of vasopressin however, they differ in the sequence and two amino acids.

Vasopressin and oxytocin are two hormones that are released from the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland and work at different distances. However, the oxytocin neurons induce other peptides to act locally such as dynorphin and corticotropin releasing hormone. Oxytocin plays a role in treating autism repetitive and affiliated behaviors as per current research. The half life of oxytocin is 3 minutes and its functional impact is immediate, it is synthesized in the magnocellular secreting cells of the paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei. The receptors of the hormone is based on species, different species have oxytocin receptors are located in different regions including amygdala and the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis.

Oxytocin is packed in large dense vessels that are bound to neurophysin I in the pituitary gland, the secretion from the nerve endings is mainly regulated by the electrical activity of oxytocin cells on the hypothalamus. There are other parts outside the brain that are known to have oxytocin these include the retina, adrenal medulla, Leydig interstitial cells, the pancreas, thymus, and the placenta. Research shows that oxytocin evokes the feelings of contentment, calmness, reduces anxiety and security when mates are together. The study shows that the level of GHRP-6 .

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