A new horizon: Oxytocin as a novel therapeutic option for obesity and diabetes

Dongsheng Cai, Sudarshana Purkayastha

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The story of oxytocin (OXT) began long ago in evolutionary terms with its recognition as a classical neurohypophyseal hormone important for lactation and uterine contraction. With the recent discovery of its local actions in the brain, its previously unappreciated diverse functions in regulating social behaviors and metabolic physiology are emerging. In light of metabolic control, OXT has been shown to induce feeding restriction and body weight lowering through acting on brain regulatory regions, in particular the hypothalamus. Studies from pharmacologic interventions and genetic manipulations demonstrated that OXT can play significant roles in affecting glucose metabolism as well as insulin secretion and lipolysis, many of those functions being regulated both centrally and peripherally. Also excitingly, recent therapeutic success was obtained in clinical endeavor showing that OXT nasal spray effectively induced weight loss and metabolic improvement in human patients with obesity, thus further indicating OXT as a tangible drug target for treating obesity and metabolic complications. In addition to the native form, OXT-derived analogues have been found effective in inducing body weight control and glucose balance. Altogether, all recent advances in the understanding of OXT and metabolic regulation has laid a promising foundation for the therapeutic strategy of developing innovative OXT peptidyl drugs for the treatment of obesity and related metabolic diseases

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e63-e68
JournalDrug Discovery Today: Disease Mechanisms
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery


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