Oxytocin is a mammalian hormone that acts primarily as a neuromodulator in the brain. The receptor is a G-protein-coupled receptor which requires Mg2+ and cholesterol. It belongs to the rhodopsin-type (class I) group of G-protein-coupled receptors. Oxytocin receptors are expressed by neurons in many parts of the brain and spinal cord, including the amygdala, ventromedial hypothalamus, septum, nucleus accumbens and brainstem.
It is invlolved in regulating mood including perceptions of stress and stress induced depression. Oxytocin may play a role in autism and may be an effective treatment for related repetitive and affiliative behaviors. It is also know to produce antinociception and analgesia making it a target for certain pain therapies.
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