Mini Review ARTICLE

Front. Neurosci., 10 January 2013 | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2012.00194

Sex, receptors, and attachment: a review of individual factors influencing response to oxytocin

  • Department of Psychiatry, University of California Medical Center, San Diego, CA, USA

As discussed in the larger review in this special issue (MacDonald and Feifel), intranasal oxytocin (OT) is demonstrating a growing potential as a therapeutic agent in psychiatry. Importantly, research suggests that a variety of individual factors may influence a person’s response to OT. In this mini-review, I provide a review of three: (1) sex and hormonal status; (2) genetic variation in aspects of the OT system (i.e., OT receptors); and (3) attachment history. Each of these factors will be important to monitor as we strive to develop a richer understanding of OT’s role in human development, brain-based disease, and the potential for individualized, OT-targeted treatments.

Keywords: oxytocin, sex factors, attachment, oxytocin receptor gene, CD38/ADP-ribosyl cyclase activity

Citation: MacDonald KS (2013) Sex, receptors, and attachment: a review of individual factors influencing response to oxytocin. Front. Neurosci. 6:194. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2012.00194

Received: 05 December 2012; Paper pending published: 18 December 2012;
Accepted: 20 December 2012; Published online: 10 January 2013.

Edited by:

Idan Shalev, Duke University, USA

Reviewed by:

René Hurlemann, University of Bonn, Germany
Benjamin A. Tabak, University of California Los Angeles, USA

Copyright: © 2013 MacDonald. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

*Correspondence: Kai S. MacDonald, Department of Psychiatry, UCSD Medical Center, 200 West Arbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92103-8216, USA. e-mail:

Back to top