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  • The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, Volume 16, Issue 2
  • March 2013, pp. 255-260

Oxytocin enhances resting-state connectivity between amygdala and medial frontal cortex

  • Chandra Sekhar Sripada (a1), K. Luan Phan (a1) (a2) (a3), Izelle Labuschagne (a4), Robert Welsh (a1) (a5), Pradeep J. Nathan (a4) (a6) and Amanda G. Wood (a7) (a8)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 30 May 2012

The neuropeptide oxytocin (OXT) plays an important role in complex socio-affective behaviours such as affiliation, attachment, stress and anxiety. Previous studies have focused on the amygdala as an important target of OXT's effects. However, the effects of OXT on connectivity of the amygdala with cortical regions such as medial frontal cortex, an important mediator of social cognition and emotion regulation, remain unexplored. In a randomized, double-blind, cross-over design, 15 volunteers received intranasal OXT or placebo prior to resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. OXT significantly increased connectivity between both amygdalae and rostral medial frontal cortex (rmFC), while having only negligible effects on coupling with other brain regions. These results demonstrate that OXT is a robust and highly selective enhancer of amygdala connectivity with rmFC, a region critical to social cognition and emotion regulation, and add to our understanding of the neural mechanisms by which OXT modulates complex social and cognitive behaviours.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: C. S. Sripada, MD, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Rachel Upjohn Building, Room 2743, 4250 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2700, USA. Tel.: (734) 936-9527Fax: (734) 936-7868Email: or
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  • ISSN: 1461-1457
  • EISSN: 1469-5111
  • URL: /core/journals/the-international-journal-of-neuropsychopharmacology
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