Tβ4 is a multifunctional regenerative small peptide containing 43-amino acids, and it is the major G-actin-sequestering molecule in eukaryotic cells.21 Tβ4 has pro-survival and pro-angiogenic properties, protects tissue against damage, and promotes tissue regeneration.22,23 It also plays a key role in corneal, epidermal and cardiac wound healing.21 Tβ4 participates in axonal path-finding, neurite formation, cell proliferation, and neuronal survival.24-26 Our previous studies show that Tβ4 reduces inflammation and stimulates remyelination and improves functional recovery in animal models of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and stroke.25,27 In summary, these pleiotropic properties make Tβ4 an ideal candidate for treatment of TBI.
Astrocytes constitute the largest population of cells in the central nervous system, constituting approximately 90% of human parenchymal cells. Astrocytes are highly responsive to injury, undergoing rapid hyperplasia and hypertrophy. Astrocytes act as physical and biochemical barriers to axonal regeneration by forming glial scars along ischemic lesions and producing axonal growth-inhibitory proteoglycans. Administration of MSCs significantly attenuates the glial scar in the ischemic boundary and reduces expression of inhibitory proteins, such as Nogo. Analysis of single-cell astrocytes isolated from the ischemic boundary by laser capture microdissection reveals that administration of MSCs dramatically down regulates neurocan, an axonal growth-inhibitory proteoglycan. Coculture of MSCs with astrocytes also substantially reduces neurocan expression in astrocytes activated by oxygen glucose deprivation. These findings suggest that injected MSCs reduce physical and biochemical barriers of astrocytes, which also contribute to axonal and neurite outgrowth.
The relationship between oxytocin and human sexual response is unclear. At least two non-controlled studies have found increases in plasma oxytocin at orgasm in both men and women. The authors of one of these studies speculated that oxytocin's effects on muscle contractibility may facilitate sperm and egg transport. Murphy et al. (1987), studying men, found that oxytocin levels were raised throughout sexual arousal and there was no acute increase at orgasm.  A more recent study of men found an increase in plasma oxytocin immediantly after orgasm, but only in a portion of their sample that did not reach statistical significance. The authors noted that these changes "may simply reflect contractile properties on reproductive tissue."
If you want to obtain anything other than trivial amounts of milk from animals like dairy cattle, you have to stimulate oxytocin release because something like 80% of the milk is available only after ejection, and milk ejection requires oxytocin. Watch someone milk a cow, even with a machine, and what you'll see is that prior to milking, the teats and lower udder are washed gently - this tactile stimulation leads to oxytocin release and milk ejection.
Wonderful column. My expertise is the psychology of risk perception, and I have done some reading on oxytocin and trust (not the kind you want to boost in a bar with Liquid Trust – you can the stuff with pheromones – to boost THAT kind of trust). It turns out there is a high concentration of oxytocin receptors on the amygdala, the area of the brain where fear starts. As oxytocin levels go up, the ability of the amygdala to be warry and more mistrustful goes down. I describe this in Ch. 3 of How Risky Is It, Really? Why Our Fears Don’t Always Match the Facts. A few graphs of which are below. I wonder whether the influence of oxytocin on the amygdala might be connected with the finding of the study you write about.
To untangle the ways different hormones together influence behavior in more naturalistic contexts, we worked with the Tsimane people in Bolivia. Traditional societies like the Tsimane are not living relics of the past, but their lifeways – small, tight-knit communities that produce their own food – can reveal the kinds of situations our hormone systems are well adapted to.
Froemke's and Tsien's work fits into a broader theory: that one way oxytocin helps social interaction and recognition is by enhancing the brain's response to socially relevant sights, sounds or other stimuli. Young has shown that the hormone helps mice to recognize and pay attention to the smells of other mice7; others found that it promotes people's ability to recognize faces8.
The reality is that people are always going to self-medicate. Boots, Amazon and H&B all sell 5-HTP, and in theory you could keep buying it and taking it for as long as you like. But it's important to know the facts. It shouldn't be used in conjunction with an SSRI, for example. In that situation, if the body is preventing serotonin breakdown while also getting extra serotonin, which leads to seriously unhealthy levels of serotonin activity.
5-HTP is converted by the body to serotonin, a chemical in the brain that plays an important role in mood, sleep, and appetite. Many prescription medications used for the treatment of depression increase serotonin concentrations in the brain. Because of 5-HTP's pathway to serotonin, it has appealed to researchers as well as the public as a "natural" alternative to antidepressants and treatment of depression, insomnia, migraines, obesity, and fibromyalgia.
My physiotherapist suggested BCP-157. We injected this into the palm for a few weeks 3x week. We then worked up a 50/50 mix of BCP and TB500. I’ve upped my injections ( 5-7 injections) into the surrounding areas of the protruding nodes in my palm. The results have been significant. Into week 6 of a 3x injection program, and the chords are opening up (reacting to the ‘rematrixing’ of the cells). The TB seems to disperse the liquid throughout my palm. My ‘clutched palm’ is reduced and flexibility is restored. We’re going to stick with this for another couple of months.
In 1999 researchers in Glasgow University found that an oxidised derivative of thymosin β4 (the sulfoxide, in which an oxygen atom is added to the methionine near the N-terminus) exerted several potentially anti-inflammatory effects on neutrophil leucocytes. It promoted their dispersion from a focus, inhibited their response to a small peptide (F-Met-Leu-Phe) which attracts them to sites of bacterial infection and lowered their adhesion to endothelial cells. (Adhesion to endothelial cells of blood vessel walls is pre-requisite for these cells to leave the bloodstream and invade infected tissue). A possible anti-inflammatory role for the β4 sulfoxide was supported by the group's finding that it counteracted artificially-induced inflammation in mice.
Due to its molecular structure and low molecular weight, TB-500 is very versatile, mobile and possesses the ability to travel long distances through tissues. This means that when targeting injured areas (chronic or acute), TB-500 has the ability to circulate through the body and “find” those areas of injury in order to enhance the healing or growth process. Many users have also noted the added benefits of improved flexibility, reduced inflammation in tendons, re-growth of lost hair, and darkening of grayed hair.
Osteoclast differentiation was assessed by tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) staining and activity. After 5 days of culture, cells were stained for TRAP kit using a leukocyte acid phosphatase kit (Sigma Aldrich, St Louis, MO, USA). Cells with three or more nuclei were counted as multinucleated mature osteoclasts. To measure TRAP activity, cells were fixed with 10% formalin for 10 min and 95% ethanol for 1 min, and then 100 μl of citrate buffer (50 mM, pH 4.6) containing 10 mM sodium tartrate and 5 mM p-nitrophenylphosphate (Sigma-Aldrich) was added to the wells containing fixed cells in the 48-well plates. After incubation for 1 h, enzyme reaction mixtures in the wells were transferred to new plates containing an equal volume of 0.1 N NaOH. Absorbance was measured at 410 nm using a microplate reader.
In the prairie vole, oxytocin released into the brain of the female during sexual activity is important for forming a pair bond with her sexual partner. Vasopressin appears to have a similar effect in males. Oxytocin has a role in social behaviors in many species, so it likely also does in humans. In a 2003 study, both humans and dog oxytocin levels in the blood rose after five to 24 minutes of a petting session. This possibly plays a role in the emotional bonding between humans and dogs.
The first time Ditzen and her colleagues did this experiment they found that for both men and women oxytocin improved communication and lowered cortisol, a stress hormone. But in a recent study published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Ditzen and her colleagues measured salivary alpha-amylase (sAA)—an enzyme tied specifically to social stress—and found that men and women responded differently. Women who got oxytocin showed a decrease in sAA whereas men showed an increase and reported feeling more intense emotions. Counterintuitively, these men were also better at communication during conflict: they smiled more, had more eye-contact and were more open about their feelings. These behaviors are essential for peaceful conflict resolution.
Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light prompts an increased release of Alpha-MSH, which in turn stimulates the production of melanin in the skin. The more melanin produced the greater pigmentation level becomes, making the skin progressively darker and tan lasts significantly longer. This makes Melanotan peptide unique, people do not require as much exposure to UV light to produce more melanin, very attractive for people wishing to develop greater tanning of the skin in fastest way possible.
In persons with Panic Disorders (versus persons without as control) ingesting 200mg of 5-HTP, both groups experienced an increase in salivary cortisol within 3 hours but the persons with Panic Attacks continued to have greater increases after the 3 hour mark; this increased cortisol was independent of any percieved side-effects such as headache, fatigue, perspiration, nausea, etc.
Sexual activity: The relationship between oxytocin and human sexual response is unclear. At least two uncontrolled studies have found increases in plasma oxytocin at orgasm – in both men and women. Plasma oxytocin levels are notably increased around the time of self-stimulated orgasm and are still higher than baseline when measured five minutes after self arousal. The authors of one of these studies speculated that oxytocin's effects on muscle contractibility may facilitate sperm and egg transport.
Skin damage and aging are induced to a large extent by free radicals from the sun and environmental pollutants and from oxidants produced during infection and inflammation. Lipid peroxidation of membranes and increased inflammatory substances, such as thromboxanes and leukotriens, add insult to injury. While skin damage accumulates with age, repair processes slow down. Thus, any boost by a molecule that would reduce free radicals and accelerate molecular events in healing has the potential to hasten skin repair. Tb4 has such healing qualities.
In a study measuring oxytocin serum levels in women before and after sexual stimulation, the author suggests it serves an important role in sexual arousal. This study found genital tract stimulation resulted in increased oxytocin immediately after orgasm. Another study reported increases of oxytocin during sexual arousal could be in response to nipple/areola, genital, and/or genital tract stimulation as confirmed in other mammals. Murphy et al. (1987), studying men, found oxytocin levels were raised throughout sexual arousal with no acute increase at orgasm. A more recent study of men found an increase in plasma oxytocin immediately after orgasm, but only in a portion of their sample that did not reach statistical significance. The authors noted these changes "may simply reflect contractile properties on reproductive tissue".
“Shortly after taking the supplement, my vision changes. Colours appear more vivid, I feel lightheaded and generally at ease. My mind calms down and the racing thoughts stop. Today is the 3rd day and I’ve noticed the intensity has gone up and it almost feels like I’m tripping on something. The sky looked absolutely amazing today, colours are so intense but I feel a kind of ungrounded and odd, but still pretty mellow with no anxious thoughts or anything like that which is good.”
Oxytocin affects social distance between adult males and females, and may be responsible at least in part for romantic attraction and subsequent monogamous pair bonding. An oxytocin nasal spray caused men in a monogamous relationship, but not single men, to increase the distance between themselves and an attractive woman during a first encounter by 10 to 15 centimeters. The researchers suggested that oxytocin may help promote fidelity within monogamous relationships. For this reason, it is sometimes referred to as the "bonding hormone". There is some evidence that oxytocin promotes ethnocentric behavior, incorporating the trust and empathy of in-groups with their suspicion and rejection of outsiders. Furthermore, genetic differences in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) have been associated with maladaptive social traits such as aggressive behavior.
James Bates* who recently started taking it for panic attacks, said, "A friend who had anxiety recommended 5-HTP to me. I used to take beta-blockers and Valium but the doctors have got funny about giving them to me. I needed an alternative and didn't fancy getting back on Prozac. I've only been taking the supplements for a month but so far, it's helped a lot. I've only had two panic attacks, whereas usually I'd have four or five."
We have evaluated the efficacy of early Tβ4 treatment on spatial learning and sensorimotor functional recovery in rats after TBI induced by unilateral CCI.34 In brief, TBI rats received Tβ4 at a dose of either 6 or 30 mg/kg (RegeneRx Biopharmaceuticals Inc, Rockville, MD) or a vehicle control (saline) administered i.p. starting at 6 hours after injury and then at 24 and 48 hours. Spatial learning was performed during the last five days (31-35 days post injury) using the modified Morris water maze (MWM) test, which is extremely sensitive to the hippocampal injury.35-37 Tβ4-treated TBI rats showed significant improvement in spatial learning when compared to the saline-treated TBI rats. Tβ4 treatment also significantly reduced the swim latency to reach the hidden platform by rats post TBI compared to saline treatment. Using the modified Neurological Severity Score (mNSS) test, our data show that significantly improved scores were observed after TBI in the Tβ4-treated group compared to the saline-treated group. Our data also show that Tβ4 reduced the incidence of both right forelimb and hindlimb footfaults in TBI rats.34 Histological data show that early Tβ4 treatment reduced cortical lesion volume by 20% and 30% for 6 mg/kg and 30 mg/kg, respectively, and reduced hippocampal cell loss. These findings suggest that TB4 provides neuroprotection even when the treatment was initiated 6 hours post injury. In addition, 6-hour Tβ4 treatment promotes neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus,38 which may contribute to improvement in spatial learning.
Unlike previous studies, the trial will include people with a wide range of symptoms — and one of its major aims is to uncover the set of factors that influence whether and how strongly people respond to oxytocin. Sikich will analyse many measures of cognition and social functioning, and collect blood samples to look for biomarkers — such as levels of oxytocin and the receptor it binds to — that are associated with a response. “Lin has really been trying to create conditions under which you could study the potential beneficial effects of oxytocin and really do this right,” says Carter.
Adam Guastella, a clinical psychologist at University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Research Institute, and a pioneer in studies of how oxytocin can help people with autism, thinks the hormone can also help people in couple therapy by facilitating empathic communication. His research has shown that people who get oxytocin are more focused on positive emotion: they remember happy faces better than angry and neutral ones. Research by others has shown that oxytocin increases trust, generosity and our ability to identify emotion in facial expressions. It is perhaps by these mechanisms that the hormone improves communication.
Advice & Tips: 5-HTP is a serotonin precursor. Serotonin is well-known as a hormone that affects one's mood in a positive way, but it is probably less-well known that it increases intestinal motility. It has worked magic for my symptoms. I am completely regular now, and the majority of my days are good days, whereas before I began taking it the majority of my days were bad days that began with symptoms of constipation and intestinal pain or discomfort. For me, at least, this is not a prescription. I began taking 5-HTP after my fiancee'--who had already been taking it to help her mood and, primarily, her difficulty sleeping through the night--learned it can be helpful when taken for gastrointestinal motility, and I began taking it myself shortly after that (and felt its effects almost immediately). Although not entirely unexpected, my slightly enhanced good moods are a nice side benefit of taking the supplement. I do get some very mild undesirable side effects, especially during mid-day when I take twice my morning and evening dose of 100 mg. Sometimes my face feels hot and flushes fairly noticeably--and this may be intensified with eating--but those symptoms subside within probably 30 minutes or less.
Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU), a thymidine analogue, can be incorporated into the DNA of dividing cells and is widely used to label new cells.61-63 To label proliferating cells, BrdU (100 mg/kg) was injected i.p. daily starting at day 1 post TBI for 10 days. The number of BrdU-positive cells found in the ipsilateral cortex, DG, and CA3 areas was significantly increased 35 days after TBI compared with sham controls.18,34,64,65 Tβ4 treatment further increased the number of BrdU-positive cells compared to saline controls.34 The increased number of BrdU-positive cells may result from effects of Tβ4 on either increasing cell proliferation or reducing cell death of newborn cells. Our recent data show Tβ4 increases oligodendrocyte precursor cell proliferation and differentiation in animal models of stroke25 and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.27 Tβ4 may not directly affect cell proliferation but inhibit cell death, for example, in corneal and conjunctival epithelial cells treated with benzalkonium chloride in vitro66 and endothelial precursor cells under serum deprivation.67 Our data further show that neurogenesis increases in TBI rats treated with Tβ4, suggesting that Tβ4 promotes newborn cells to differentiate into neurons. This is consistent with the effect of Tβ4 on promoting epicardium-derived progenitor cell differentiation into endothelial and smooth muscle cells to form the coronary vasculature.22 Whether the increased number of BrdU-positive cells in the brain of TBI rats treated with Tβ4 is tissue specific remains unknown. Tβ4 may not directly affect cell proliferation. Increased cell proliferation and neurogenesis are also possibly secondary to that Tβ4-mediated angiogenesis, as described later.
Children: 5-HTP is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately. Doses of up to 5 mg/kg daily have been used safely for up to 3 years in infants and children up to 12 years-old. As with adults, there is also concern about the potential for eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS) in children, a serious condition involving extreme muscle tenderness (myalgia) and blood abnormalities (eosinophilia).