Recently, oxytocin (OXT) has been investigated for its potential therapeutic role in addiction. OXT has been found to diminish various drug-seeking and drug-induced behaviors. Although its behavioral effects are well-established, there is not much consensus on how this neuropeptide exerts its effects. Previous research has given thought to how dopamine (DA) may be involved in oxytocinergic mechanisms, but there has not been as strong of a focus on the role that glutamate (Glu) has. The glutamatergic system is critical for the processing of rewards and the disruption of glutamatergic projections produces the behaviors seen in drug addicts. We introduce the idea that OXT has direct effects on Glu transmission within the reward processing pathway. Thus, OXT may reduce addictive behaviors by restoring abnormal drug-induced changes in the glutamatergic system and in its interactions with other neurotransmitters. This review offers insight into the mechanisms through which a potentially viable therapeutic target, OXT, could be used to reduce addic-tion-related behaviors.
Sundar, M., Patel, D., Young, Z., & Leong, K.-C. (2021). Oxytocin and addiction: Potential glutamatergic mechanisms. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(5), Article 2405. http://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22052405
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
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