Navigation Links
'Trust' hormone oxytocin found at heart of rare genetic disorder
Date:6/22/2012

LA JOLLA, CA----The hormone oxytocin - often referred to as the "trust" hormone or "love hormone" for its role in stimulating emotional responses - plays an important role in Williams syndrome (WS), according to a study published June 12, 2012, in PLoS One.

The study, a collaboration between scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the University of Utah, found that people with WS flushed with the hormones oxytocin and arginine vasopressin (AVP) when exposed to emotional triggers.

The findings may help in understanding human emotional and behavioral systems and lead to new treatments for devastating illnesses such as WS, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and possibly even autism.

"Williams syndrome results from a very clear genetic deletion, allowing us to explore the genetic and neuronal basis of social behavior," says Ursula Bellugi, the director of Salk's Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience and a co-author on the paper. "This study provides us with crucial information about genes and brain regions involved in the control of oxytocin and vasopressin, hormones that may play important roles in other disorders."

WS arises from a faulty recombination event during the development of sperm or egg cells. As a result, virtually everyone with WS has exactly the same set of genes missing (25 to 28 genes are missing from one of two copies of chromosome 7). There also are rare cases of individuals who retain one or more genes that most people with the disorder have lost.

To children with WS, people are much more comprehensible than inanimate objects. Despite myriad health problems they are extremely gregarious, irresistibly drawn to strangers, and insist on making eye contact. They have an affinity for music. But they also experience heightened anxiety, have an average IQ of 60, experience severe spatial-visual problems, and suffer from cardiovascular and other health issues. Despite their desire to befriend people, they have difficulty creating and maintaining social relationships, something that is not at all understood but can afflict many people without WS.

In the new study, led by Dr. Julie R. Korenberg, a University of Utah professor and Salk adjunct professor, the scientists conducted a trial with 21 participants, 13 who have WS and a control group of eight people without the disorder. The participants were evaluated at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Because music is a known strong emotional stimulus, the researchers asked participants to listen to music.

Before the music was played, the participants' blood was drawn to determine a baseline level for oxytocin, and those with WS had three times as much of the hormone as those without the syndrome. Blood also was drawn at regular intervals while the music played and was analyzed afterward to check for real-time, rapid changes in the levels of oxytocin and AVP. Other studies have examined how oxytocin affects emotion when artificially introduced into people, such as through nasal sprays, but this is one of the first significant studies to measure naturally occurring changes in oxytocin levels in rapid, real time as people undergo an emotional response.

There was little outward response to the music, but when the blood samples were analyzed, the researchers were happily surprised. The analyses showed that the oxytocin levels, and to a lesser degree AVP, had not only increased but begun to bounce among WS participants while among those without WS, both the oxytocin and AVP levels remained largely unchanged as they listened to music.

Korenberg believes the blood analyses strongly indicate that oxytocin and AVP are not regulated correctly in people with WS, and that the behavioral characteristics unique to people with WS are related to this problem.

"This shows that oxytocin quite likely is very involved in emotional response," Korenberg says.

To ensure accuracy of results, those taking the test also were asked to place their hands in 60-degree Fahrenheit water to test for negative stress, and the same results were produced as when they listened to music. Those with WS experienced an increase in oxytocin and AVP, while those without the syndrome did not.

In addition to listening to music, study participants already had taken three social behavior tests that evaluate willingness to approach and speak to strangers, emotional states, and various areas of adaptive and problem behavior. Those test results suggest that increased levels of oxytocin are linked to both increased desire to seek social interaction and decreased ability to process social cues, a double-edged message that may be very useful at times, for example, during courtship, but damaging at others, as in WS.

"The association between abnormal levels of oxytocin and AVP and altered social behaviors found in people with Williams Syndrome points to surprising, entirely unsuspected deleted genes involved in regulation of these hormones and human sociability," Korenberg said. "It also suggests that the simple characterization of oxytocin as 'the love hormone' may be an overreach. The data paint a far more complicated picture."

In particular, the study results indicate that the missing genes affect the release of oxytocin and AVP through the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. About the size of a pearl, the hypothalamus is located just above the brain stem and produces hormones that control body temperature, hunger, mood, sex drive, sleep, hunger and thirst, and the release of hormones from many glands, including the pituitary. The pituitary gland, about the size of a pea, controls many other glands responsible for hormone secretion.

Overall, the researchers say, their findings paint a very hopeful picture, and the study holds promise for speeding progress in treating WS, and perhaps Autism and anxiety through regulation of these key players in human brain and emotion, oxytocin and vasopressin.


'/>"/>

Contact: Andy Hoang
ahoang@salk.edu
619-861-5811
Salk Institute
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Trivedi Beef, LLC Announces Breakthrough Beef Industry Data without the use of Antibiotic Drugs, Hormones or Steroids
2. Gum disease joins hot flashes and PMS associated with womens hormones
3. Dieting May Lower Hormone Levels Tied to Breast Cancer
4. New inflammation hormone link may pave way to study new drugs for Type 2 diabetes
5. Hormone may help predict tubal ectopic pregnancy
6. Oxytocin improves brain function in children with autism
7. Leah Hoskins, F.I.L.M. Project Founder, Headed to Jail?
8. CPAP found to improve sexual function, satisfaction in men with sleep apnea
9. Obesity, depression found to be root causes of daytime sleepiness
10. Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation awards $3.3 million to 8 top young clinical investigators
11. New drug found effective against rare form of basal cell skin cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... A recent ... that most people are unfamiliar with. The article goes on to state that individuals ... also many of these less common operations such as calf and cheek reduction. The ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. ... and physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. ... rocks at my other children and say he was going to kill them. If ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Dr. Amanda ... orthodontic treatment. Dr. Cheng has extensive experience with all areas of orthodontics, including ... accelerated osteogenic orthodontics. , Micro-osteoperforation is a revolutionary adjunct to orthodontic treatment. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... People across the U.S. are sharpening ... Talker Award, an essay contest in which patients and their families pay tribute to ... at the 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference (AEC) this ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Puradigm® ... Group (TGIG), has initiated cultivation and processing operations at its production facility, and ... Nevada. , Puradigm is the manufacturer of a complete system of proactive air ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016  Collagen Matrix, Inc., ("Collagen Matrix") ... manufacturing of collagen and mineral based medical devices ... Bill Messer has joined the company ... leverage the growing portfolio of oral surgery, neurosurgery, ... Bill joins the Collagen Matrix executive team as ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Research and Markets has ... 2015-2025: Applications, Technologies, Forecasts" report to their ... Electronics, Smart Skin, Structural Health Monitoring, Composite Smart ... electronics involves electronic and/or electrical components and circuits ... structures such as vehicle bodies or conformally placed ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... to their offering. ... World Market for Companion Diagnostics covers the world market for ... report includes the following: , World IVD ... (N. America, EU, ROW), 2015-2020 , World IVD Companion ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: