Oxytocin: Starting with the basics

Nov 09 2009 Published by under Neuroscience

So sometimes, Sci gets questions, and sometimes those questions...are close enough to requests. And so, today Sci will begin what is probably going to be an extensive basic series on oxytocin. We ALL love oxytocin, right? Right! And we all missed Sci's big honkin' basic science posts right? Of course right!
So the question basically came down to this: What are the effects of oxytocin in female vs males, in particular the effects on sexual and bonding behavior, and how does this influence the autonomy of people (eg, are we really the tools of our hormones). The short answer: yes and no. The long answer: is very long. So today Sci is going to begin with a background post on oxytocin, what it is, where it acts, and some basic functions. The next post will be on effects of ocytocin in females specifically, and then a post on ocytocin in males specifically. And then, the synthesis. And interspersed in there, a few Friday Weird Sciences. I mean, oxytocin makes for some GREAT weird science. :) Keep in mind, though, that although Sci has done a boatload of research getting ready to blog this topic, she by no means going to hit ALL of EVERYTHING. She might have to blog some specific papers in the future, and she definitely welcomes anyone willing to chime in the comments with more info!
So here we go.
Oxytocin
oxytocin.jpg
(Complicated molecule, complicated actions)

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