Long term effects of chronic intranasal oxytocin on adult pair bonding behavior and brain glucose uptake in titi monkeys (Plecturocebus cupreus)

Rocío Arias del Razo, Maria de Lourdes Velasco Vazquez, Petru Turcanu, Mathieu Legrand, Maeva Floch, Tamara A.R. Weinstein, Leana R. Goetze, Sara M. Freeman, Alexander Baxter, Lynea R. Witczak, Elizabeth Sahagún, Trish Berger, Suma Jacob, Rebecca H. Lawrence, Emily S. Rothwell, Logan E. Savidge, Marjorie Solomon, Sally P. Mendoza, Karen L. Bales

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13 Scopus citations


Intranasal oxytocin (IN OXT) administration has been proposed as a pharmacological treatment for a range of biomedical conditions including neurodevelopmental disorders. However, studies evaluating the potential long-lasting effects of chronic IN OXT during development are still scarce. Here we conducted a follow-up study of a cohort of adult titi monkeys that received intranasal oxytocin 0.8 IU/kg (n = 15) or saline (n = 14) daily for six months during their juvenile period (12 to 18 months of age), with the goal of evaluating the potential long-lasting behavioral and neural effects one year post-treatment. Subjects were paired with an opposite-sex mate at 30 months of age (one year post-treatment). We examined pair affiliative behavior in the home cage during the first four months and tested for behavioral components of pair bonding at one week and four months post-pairing. We assessed long-term changes in brain glucose uptake using 18FDG positron emission tomography (PET) scans. Our results showed that OXT-treated animals were more affiliative across a number of measures, including tail twining, compared to SAL treated subjects (tail twining is considered the “highest” type of affiliation in titi monkeys). Neuroimaging showed no treatment differences in glucose uptake between SAL and OXT-treated animals; however, females showed higher glucose uptake in whole brain at 23 months, and in both the whole brain and the social salience network at 33 months of age compared to males. Our results suggest that chronic IN OXT administration during development can have long-term effects on adult social behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105126
JournalHormones and Behavior
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the following for contributions to this project: Madison Dufek, Elisa Arnaud, Gregoire Boulinguez-Ambroise, Floriane Poulain, Nicolas Almeida E Silva, Rebecca Cotterman, Charles Smith, Doug Rowland, Rich Larson, Veterinary Staff, Jaleh Janatpour and Kevin Theis, and Bales lab volunteers. This research was supported by NICHD grant HD071998 , NIH grant OD011107 to the CNPRC, UC Mexus , and the Good Nature Institute .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors


  • Autism
  • Behavior
  • Intranasal oxytocin
  • PET scan
  • Prader-Willi syndrome


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