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Early life stress modulates oxytocin effects on limbic system during acute psychosocial stress


Grimm, Simone; Pestke, Karin; Feeser, Melanie; Aust, Sabine; Weigand, Anne; Wang, Jue; Wingenfeld, Katja; Pruessner, Jens C; La Marca, Roberto; Boeker, Heinz; Bajbouj, Malek (2014). Early life stress modulates oxytocin effects on limbic system during acute psychosocial stress. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 9(11):1828-1835.

Abstract

Early life stress (ELS) is associated with altered stress responsivity, structural and functional brain changes and an increased risk for the development of psychopathological conditions in later life. Due to its behavioral and physiological effects, the neuropeptide oxytocin (OXT) is a useful tool to investigate stress responsivity, even though the neurobiological underpinnings of its effects are still unknown. Here we investigate the effects of OXT on cortisol stress response and neural activity during psychosocial stress. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging in healthy subjects with and without a history of ELS, we found attenuated hormonal reactivity and significantly reduced limbic deactivation after OXT administration in subjects without a history of ELS. Subjects who experienced ELS showed both blunted stress reactivity and limbic deactivation during stress. Furthermore, in these subjects OXT had opposite effects with increased hormonal reactivity and increased limbic deactivation. Our results might implicate that reduced limbic deactivation and hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis responsivity during psychosocial stress are markers for biological resilience after ELS. Effects of OXT in subjects with a history of maltreatment could therefore be considered detrimental and suggest careful consideration of OXT administration in such individuals.

Early life stress (ELS) is associated with altered stress responsivity, structural and functional brain changes and an increased risk for the development of psychopathological conditions in later life. Due to its behavioral and physiological effects, the neuropeptide oxytocin (OXT) is a useful tool to investigate stress responsivity, even though the neurobiological underpinnings of its effects are still unknown. Here we investigate the effects of OXT on cortisol stress response and neural activity during psychosocial stress. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging in healthy subjects with and without a history of ELS, we found attenuated hormonal reactivity and significantly reduced limbic deactivation after OXT administration in subjects without a history of ELS. Subjects who experienced ELS showed both blunted stress reactivity and limbic deactivation during stress. Furthermore, in these subjects OXT had opposite effects with increased hormonal reactivity and increased limbic deactivation. Our results might implicate that reduced limbic deactivation and hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis responsivity during psychosocial stress are markers for biological resilience after ELS. Effects of OXT in subjects with a history of maltreatment could therefore be considered detrimental and suggest careful consideration of OXT administration in such individuals.

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9 citations in Web of Science®
11 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:27 February 2014
Deposited On:11 Mar 2014 17:20
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:45
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1749-5016
Additional Information:This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Grimm, Simone; Pestke, Karin; Feeser, Melanie; Aust, Sabine; Weigand, Anne; Wang, Jue; Wingenfeld, Katja; Pruessner, Jens C; La Marca, Roberto; Boeker, Heinz; Bajbouj, Malek (2014). Early life stress modulates oxytocin effects on limbic system during acute psychosocial stress. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience:Epub ahead of print. is available online at: http://scan.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/02/27/scan.nsu020.
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsu020
PubMed ID:24478326
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-94019

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