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A common oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) polymorphism modulates intranasal oxytocin effects on the neural response to social cooperation in humans

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Binder,  E. B.
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Dept. Translational Research in Psychiatry, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Feng, C., Lori, A., Waldman, I. D., Binder, E. B., Haroon, E., & Rilling, J. K. (2015). A common oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) polymorphism modulates intranasal oxytocin effects on the neural response to social cooperation in humans. GENES BRAIN AND BEHAVIOR, 14(7), 516-525. doi:10.1111/gbb.12234.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0029-C081-6
Abstract
Intranasal oxytocin (OT) can modulate social-emotional functioning and related brain activity in humans. Consequently, OT has been discussed as a potential treatment for psychiatric disorders involving social behavioral deficits. However, OT effects are often heterogeneous across individuals. Here we explore individual differences in OT effects on the neural response to social cooperation as a function of the rs53576 polymorphism of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR). Previously, we conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled study in which healthy men and women were randomized to treatment with intranasal OT or placebo. Afterwards, they were imaged with functional magnetic resonance imaging while playing an iterated Prisoner's Dilemma Game with same-sex partners. Within the left ventral caudate nucleus, intranasal OT treatment increased activation to reciprocated cooperation in men, but tended to decrease activation in women. Here, we show that these sex differences in OT effects are specific to individuals with the rs53576 GG genotype, and are not found for other genotypes (rs53576 AA/AG). Thus, OT may increase the reward or salience of positive social interactions for male GG homozygotes, while decreasing those processes for female GG homozygotes. These results suggest that rs53576 genotype is an important variable to consider in future investigations of the clinical efficacy of intranasal OT treatment.