Vasopressin, oxytocin and bonding (1)
Doctor Thomas Insel discusses the importance of two neuropeptides - oxytocin and vasopressin - in relation to attachment and social bonding.
I really grew up trying to understand social behavior; kind of looking at what oxytocin and vasopressin, two neuropeptides and their receptors, did in a range of different species. And we were very interested in the prairie vole and related voles because they had different patterns of social organization. They had different patterns of these neuropeptide receptors and we thought can we figure out how those things fit together? Is there something about where the receptors are in the brain that will lead us to understanding how the social organization evolved? I donâ€™t do that anymore; I kind of miss it, itâ€™s a fascinating place to be because it is one of those areas where you can do comparative studies and at the same time you can drill down â€“ you can go from behavior to brain systems to understanding what cells are involved and see how itâ€™s all driven by very subtle differences in gene sequence. Itâ€™s a lovely story and itâ€™s one that I think may provide some really good insights about how genomic variation is manifest, ultimately, in behavioral changes that are the result of evolution. Itâ€™s a beautiful story for that. But I really enjoy it mostly from afar. Iâ€™m a cheerleader, I like to see this work happen. I like to see it happen in other species as well. I think the big shift in that area over the last 5 years â€“ I left the field about 5 years ago and handed off a laboratory to some very talented junior people that have done great things that I would have never done has I stayed there, so itâ€™s actually grown in wonderful ways. But one of the things that is happening increasingly is people are taking these same questions into humans, and saying, â€˜Well now that we have candidates, can we look at the vasopressin receptor gene in humans?' If you gave vasopressin or oxytocin to humans and you studied whatâ€™s happening in their brains with neuroimaging, can you see changes about brain functioning that are related in any way to behavior? Do these neuropeptides actually affect human behavior in any way relevant to what we saw in mice and voles and rats and others have seen in lizards and fish? The preliminary data are quite interesting. Itâ€™s difficult to do this with the precision we have in other organisms but in humans, just a first pass of the neuroimaging data looks pretty intriguing. Maybe there is a way in which this oxytocin, as the first example, seems to facilitate human trust and changes the way that you evaluate another person within a social context.
vasopressin, oxytocin, prairie vole, brain systems, neuropeptides, social behavior, attachment, bonding, thomas, insel
Doctor Thomas Insel continues his discussion of the two neuropeptides, vasopressin and oxytocin.
Doctor Larry Young explains that social personality traits are influenced by levels of oxytocin and vasopressin in the brain.
Doctor Larry Young explains that the genes that encode for vasopressin receptors can predict social behaviors. This intriguing finding makes the link between genes, the brain and behavior.
Doctor Larry Young discusses how vasopressin and oxytocin contribute to the reward system, which can promote behavior such as bonding and drug addiction.
Doctor Larry Young discusses his research with prairie voles and suggests that the same neurobiological processes may underlie drug addiction and bonding.
Doctor Larry Young describes the prairie vole as an excellent model species because it forms social bonds similar to humans.
Doctor Larry Young discusses that he believes there is a biological basis to love.
Oxytocin (OXT) is a gene that plays a role in social behaviors in many species. Oxytocin dysfunction may be a cause for autism.
Doctor Larry Young discusses how dopamine and oxytocin interact in the reward and reinforcement parts of the brain to help form social bonds.
Doctor Thomas Insel discusses the importance of understanding behavior on multiple levels and the interactions of genes, cells, and social systems.