A handful of large-scale clinical trials are now getting under way to test oxytocin and oxytocin-based therapies for autism spectrum disorder, and to work out who could benefit. Linmarie Sikich, a child psychiatrist at the University of North Carolina is heading the largest of these trials. Sikich plans to recruit 300 people with autism spectrum disorder, ranging in age from 3 to 17, and give them 6 months of either oxytocin or a placebo, followed by 6 months in which everyone will receive oxytocin.

This article is authored by a PhD Candidate and her supervisory team at University of Queensland, and reflects the interests of the student’s doctoral project in undertaking the nation’s first qualitative study into experiences of Melanotan use among the general population. Dubbed ‘Project Melanotan’, the investigation aims to directly engage with ‘melanotanners’ in a non-judgemental environment, in an effort to both critically evaluate as well as understand lived experiences of melanotaning as they relate to conceptually relevant notions of risk, technology and the body.
Established immortalized human PDLCs [22] that maintain the characteristics of primary PDLCs by transfecting human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) were used. These cell line were kindly provided by Professor Takashi Takata (Hiroshima University, Japan). Cells were cultured in α-MEM supplemented with 10% FBS, 100 U/mL penicillin, and 100 μg/mL streptomycin in a humidified atmosphere of 5% CO2 at 37°C. For the experiments, the cells were seeded into culture dishes and then cultured in α-MEM containing 10% FBS for 2 days until 70% confluent, and, then, the media was replaced by serum-free medium in order to minimize any serum-induced effects on PDLCs. Subsequently, the cells were exposed to H2O2 and human Tβ4 peptide (RegeneRx Biopharmaceuticals Inc., Rockville, MD). All treatments were performed in triplicate and approved by the local ethics committee.
Growth factors play an important role is enhancing structural repair of chronic wounds (Robson, 1997). KGF-2 (Robson et al., 2001), TGF-β (Robson et al., 1995), PDGF-BB (Mustoe et al., 1994; Kiritsy et al., 1995; Smiell et al., 1999), β-NGF (Muangman et al., 2004) have been shown to enhance re-epithelialization (Greenalgh, 1996 for review). The KGF-1 gene has been shown to improve cutaneous wound healing in a septic rat model when delivered in a plasmid (Lin et al., 2006). The PDGF-B gene carried in a plasmid mixed with a bovine collagen gel was reported to accelerate closure of patient diabetic ulcers (Mulder et al., 2009; Blume et al., 2011). KGF-2, PDGF-BB and FGF-L are commercially available as RepiferminTM, RegranexTM, and Trafermin to treat human chronic wounds. Data for the effects of PDGF-BB on back wounds of diabetic mice and for the effects of KGF-2 on chronic venous ulcers in patients is tabulated in Tables 10.3 and 10.4. Thymosin β4 accelerated keratinocyte migration in the wounds of old diabetic mice (Philp et al., 2003).
A number of factors can inhibit oxytocin release, among them acute stress. For example, oxytocin neurons are repressed by catecholamines, which are released from the adrenal gland in response to many types of stress, including fright. As a practical endocrine tip - don't wear a gorilla costume into a milking parlor full of cows or set off firecrackers around a mother nursing her baby.
For this study, one of us, Ben Trumble, followed Tsimane men as they went hunting for food. Typically, Tsimane men set out alone or with a partner in the early morning and search in the forest for prey such as wild pigs, deer, monkeys, or the rare tapir. Following long looping trails they might be gone for eight or nine hours, traveling about six miles (ten kilometers). Ben collected saliva samples throughout the hunt in order to measure changes in men’s hormone levels.
Trust is increased by oxytocin.[95][96][97] Disclosure of emotional events is a sign of trust in humans. When recounting a negative event, humans who receive intranasal oxytocin share more emotional details and stories with more emotional significance.[96] Humans also find faces more trustworthy after receiving intranasal oxytocin. In a study, participants who received intranasal oxytocin viewed photographs of human faces with neutral expressions and found them to be more trustworthy than those who did not receive oxytocin.[95] This may be because oxytocin reduces the fear of social betrayal in humans.[98] Even after experiencing social alienation by being excluded from a conversation, humans who received oxytocin scored higher in trust on the Revised NEO Personality Inventory.[97] Moreover, in a risky investment game, experimental subjects given nasally administered oxytocin displayed "the highest level of trust" twice as often as the control group. Subjects who were told they were interacting with a computer showed no such reaction, leading to the conclusion that oxytocin was not merely affecting risk aversion.[99] When there is a reason to be distrustful, such as experiencing betrayal, differing reactions are associated with oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) differences. Those with the CT haplotype experience a stronger reaction, in the form of anger, to betrayal.[100]
Cognitive impairment has repeatedly been described in bipolar disorders… Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptophan; 5-HT) is possibly involved in these cognitive processes, more particularly in executive functions, learning, memory, and attention. The aim of this study was to investigate serotonergic vulnerability and its relation to cognitive functioning in healthy first-degree relatives of [bipolar disorders] patients…
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Established immortalized human PDLCs [22] that maintain the characteristics of primary PDLCs by transfecting human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) were used. These cell line were kindly provided by Professor Takashi Takata (Hiroshima University, Japan). Cells were cultured in α-MEM supplemented with 10% FBS, 100 U/mL penicillin, and 100 μg/mL streptomycin in a humidified atmosphere of 5% CO2 at 37°C. For the experiments, the cells were seeded into culture dishes and then cultured in α-MEM containing 10% FBS for 2 days until 70% confluent, and, then, the media was replaced by serum-free medium in order to minimize any serum-induced effects on PDLCs. Subsequently, the cells were exposed to H2O2 and human Tβ4 peptide (RegeneRx Biopharmaceuticals Inc., Rockville, MD). All treatments were performed in triplicate and approved by the local ethics committee.
The sequence LKKTET, which starts at residue 17 of the 43-aminoacid sequence of thymosin beta-4, and is strongly conserved between all β-thymosins, together with a similar sequence in WH2 domains, is frequently referred to as "the actin-binding motif" of these proteins, although modelling based on X-ray crystallography has shown that essentially the entire length of the β-thymosin sequence interacts with actin in the actin-thymosin complex.[13]
5-HTP increases a brain chemical called serotonin. Some medications for depression also increase serotonin. Taking 5-HTP along with these medications for depression might increase serotonin too much and cause serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety. Do not take 5-HTP if you are taking medications for depression.

Some of these medications for depression include fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), amitriptyline (Elavil), clomipramine (Anafranil), imipramine (Tofranil), and others.

But returning hunters also need to share meat with their families and friends; this is where oxytocin comes into play. It can help overcome the potentially negative social effects of testosterone. Men who were absent for longer seem to need more oxytocin to reconnect with their families; it seems that absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder, via an oxytocin blast.

Since Wnt5a expression is associated with rheumatoid arthritis and periodontitis [25, 26], expression of Wnt5a and its cell surface receptors, Frizzled and receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor 2 (Ror2), were examined. As shown in Fig 9A–9D, mRNA and protein expressions of Wnt5a and its receptors were increased by H2O2 in a time- and dose-dependent manner.

It’s a compound that the body needs in order to make serotonin, which is our main “happiness hormone.” Per Dr. Oz, 5-HTP floods the brain with serotonin and helps minimize stress, sadness, anger, and anxiety. “5-HTP targets specific emotions that drive us to overeat,” Dr. Bhatia explains. And as she already mentioned, 5-HTP also reduces physical hunger pangs and emotional cravings. Ideally, the body makes its own 5-HTP from the amino acid tryptophan, found in foods like turkey and bananas. (Why not just eat more turkey or take a tryptophan supplement? If you struggle with mood or weight, it can be a sign that your body has trouble converting tryptophan to 5-HTP.) Besides making it yourself, the only other way to get 5-HTP is from a supplement. One we like is the BRI 5-HTP Supplement ($16 for 120 capules, Amazon).
5-HTP has been linked in very rare instances to a condition known as EMS, or eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome, which combines extreme muscle tenderness with abnormalities in the blood. A contaminant that was found in some tryptophan supplements in the late 1980s, and was linked to a small number of EMS cases, was also found in some 5-HTP supplements.  It’s important to talk with your doctor before you begin taking 5-HTP or any other supplement, and to make sure you’re getting your supplements from a reliable provider.  

Cardiac effects: oxytocin and oxytocin receptors are also found in the heart in some rodents, and the hormone may play a role in the embryonal development of the heart by promoting cardiomyocyte differentiation.[50][51] However, the absence of either oxytocin or its receptor in knockout mice has not been reported to produce cardiac insufficiencies.[49]
Three groups of mice were individually placed in cages with aggressive mice and experienced social defeat, a stressful experience for them. One group was missing its oxytocin receptors, essentially the plug by which the hormone accesses brain cells. The lack of receptors means oxytocin couldn't enter the mice's brain cells. The second group had an increased number of receptors so their brain cells were flooded with the hormone. The third control group had a normal number of receptors.
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.
Jump up ^ Carlier MF, Hertzog M, Didry D, Renault L, Cantrelle FX, van Heijenoort C, Knossow M, Guittet E (September 2007). "Structure, function, and evolution of the beta-thymosin/WH2 (WASP-Homology2) actin-binding module". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1112: 67–75. Bibcode:2007NYASA1112...67C. doi:10.1196/annals.1415.037. PMID 17947587.
In addition, in the Phase 1 clinical trial in healthy volunteers using a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled single- and multiple-dose Phase 1 clinical trial, the safety and pharmacokinetics of the intravenous administration of TB-4 was evaluated. From this, intravenous administration of TB-4 appears to be safe and well-tolerated by all subjects with no dose limiting toxicity or serious adverse events reported.
These proteins, which typically contain 2-4 repeats of the β-thymosin sequence, are found in all phyla of the animal kingdom, with the probable exception of sponges[21] The sole mammalian example, a dimer in mice, is synthesised by transcriptional read-through between two copies of the mouse β15 gene, each of which is also transcribed separately.[22] A uniquely multiple example is the protein thypedin of Hydra which has 27 repeats of a β-thymosin sequence.[23]

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.

Despite these many roles, oxytocin is often reduced to a misleading label. While “hormone of love” may be great for catchy headlines and compelling marketing slogans, they are ultimately misleading. Jennifer Bartz from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine has found that oxytocin can have completely opposite effects on the way people behave, depending on how they view their relationships to other people.
Nature has been very clever in a way. Without oxytocin, you know, babies are what they really are - I probably shouldn't say this on TV - but noisy, smelly animals that don't actually do anything useful. And, um, that's what oxytocin does. It gives them a special salience, a special beauty and allows us to bond with these defenceless little animals.
TBI patients frequently suffer from long-term deficits in cognitive and motor performance. No single animal model can adequately mimic all aspects of human TBI owing to the heterogeneity of clinical TBI.11 Some features of cognitive and motor function in humans have been successfully demonstrated in experimental brain trauma models.28-30 The controlled cortical impact (CCI) model is one of the most widely used TBI models. The CCI-TBI model has many clinically relevant features in that CCI causes not only cortical damage but also selective neuronal death in the hippocampus in rodents, leading to sensorimotor dysfunction and spatial learning and memory deficits, respectively.18,31-33
Melanotans include melanotan I (afamelanotide) and melanotan II. Both melanotan I and II are widely abused to obtain a cosmetic tan. The melanotans are potent, non-selective melanocortin receptor agonists affecting MC1, MC3, MC4 and MC5 receptors. These receptors are responsible for many physiological systems including: pigmentation, energy, sexual function, immune system, inflammation and the cardiovascular system.
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.[109] 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.[66] Furthermore, genetic differences in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) have been associated with maladaptive social traits such as aggressive behavior.[110]
Thymosin beta 4 (Tβ4) is a highly conserved, naturally occurring, water-soluble regenerative peptide that is found in all tissues and in all cell types, except red blood cells (Goldstein, Hannappel, Sosne, & Kleinman, 2012; Goldstein & Kleinman, 2015). It is also found in the blood and in other body fluids, including tears, saliva, cerebrospinal fluid, and wound fluids (Badamchian et al., 2007; Huang, Wang, Barnes, & Elmets, 2006; Mohring, Kellmann, Jurgens, & Schrader, 2005). Both platelets and leukocytes release Tβ4 into the wound fluid such that the final concentration is 13 μg/mL (Fromm, Gunne, Bergman, et al., 1996; Hannappel & van Kampen, 1987).
Oxytocin in a nine amino acid peptide that is synthesized in hypothalamic neurons and transported down axons of the posterior pituitary for secretion into blood. Oxytocin is also secreted within the brain and from a few other tissues, including the ovaries and testes. Oxytocin differs from antidiuretic hormone in two of the nine amino acids. Both hormones are packaged into granules and secreted along with carrier proteins called neurophysins.
Cells were pretreated with indicated concentrations of Tβ4 peptide for 2 hours and then incubated with 200 μM H2O2 for 48 hours (A-E). Cell viability was measured by MTT assay (A). Protein and mRNA expressions were assessed by RT-PCR (B) and Western blot analysis (C), respectively. The production of NO (D) and PGE2 (E) were measured by Griess reaction and ELISA, respectively. Data replicated the quantifications of cytotoxicity, NO, and PGE2 with the standard deviation of at least three experiments (n = 4). The bar graph shows the fold increase in protein or mRNA expression compared with control cells. * Statistically significant differences compared with the control, p<0.05. # Statistically significant difference compared with the H2O2—treated group.
Nolen, W. A., van de Putte, J. J., Dijken, W. A., Kamp, J. S., Blansjaar, B. A., Kramer, H. J., and Haffmans, J. Treatment strategy in depression. II. MAO inhibitors in depression resistant to cyclic antidepressants: two controlled crossover studies with tranylcypromine versus L-5-hydroxytryptophan and nomifensine. Acta Psychiatr.Scand 1988;78(6):676-683. View abstract.
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