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Human endogenous oxytocin and its neural correlates show adaptive responses to social touch based on recent social context
University of Skövde, School of Health Sciences. University of Skövde, Digital Health Research (DHEAR). (Translational Medicine TRIM)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0987-8357
Division of Neurobiology, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Linköping University, Sweden.
University of Skövde, School of Health Sciences. University of Skövde, Digital Health Research (DHEAR). (Translational Medicine TRIM)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2462-0178
Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV) Linköping University Hospital, Sweden ; Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Linköping University, Sweden.
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2023 (English)In: eLIFE, E-ISSN 2050-084X, Vol. 12, article id e81197Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Both oxytocin (OT) and touch are key mediators of social attachment. In rodents, tactile stimulation elicits endogenous release of OT, potentially facilitating attachment and other forms of prosocial behavior, yet the relationship between endogenous OT and neural modulation remains unexplored in humans. Using serial sampling of plasma hormone levels during functional neuroimaging across two successive social interactions, we show that contextual circumstances of social touch facilitate or inhibit not only current hormonal and brain responses, but also calibrate later responses. Namely, touch from a male to his female romantic partner enhanced subsequent OT release for touch from an unfamiliar stranger, yet OT responses to partner touch were dampened following stranger touch. Hypothalamus and dorsal raphe activation reflected plasma OT changes during the initial interaction. In thesubsequent social interaction, time- and context-dependent OT changes modulated precuneus and parietal-temporal cortex pathways, including a region of medial prefrontal cortex that also covaried with plasma cortisol. These findings demonstrate that hormonal neuromodulation during successive human social interactions is adaptive to social context, and point to mechanisms that flexibly calibrate receptivity in social encounters.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
eLife Sciences Publications Ltd , 2023. Vol. 12, article id e81197
National Category
Neurosciences
Research subject
Translational Medicine TRIM
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-22515DOI: 10.7554/elife.81197ISI: 001075012600001PubMedID: 37157840Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85158161341OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-22515DiVA, id: diva2:1756106
Funder
Swedish Research Council, FYF-2013-687
Note

CC BY 4.0

For correspondence: india.morrison@liu.se

The authors thank Åsa Axén and Gisela Öhnström for blood sample collection, Kerstin Uvnäs-Moberg, Maria Petersson, Stephanie Preston, and Ellen Lumpkin for valuable discussion, and Paul Hamilton and Irene Perini for assistance with AFNI software. Funding: This study was supported by Distinguished Young Investigator grant FYF-2013–687 from the Swedish Research Council to IM.

Available from: 2023-05-10 Created: 2023-05-10 Last updated: 2023-11-06Bibliographically approved

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Handlin, LindaLindholm, HeléneMorrison, India

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