Home » Key Scientific Articles » Immunohistochemical localization of oxytocin receptors in human brain

Immunohistochemical localization of oxytocin receptors in human brain

Boccia ML, Petrusz P, Suzuki K, Marson L, Pedersen CA.

Neuroscience. 2013 Dec 3;253:155-64.

FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8185, United States. Electronic address: [email protected]


The neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) regulates rodent, primate and human social behaviors and stress responses. OT binding studies employing (125)I-d(CH2)5-[Tyr(Me)2,Thr4,Tyr-NH2(9)] ornithine vasotocin ((125)I-OTA), has been used to locate and quantify oxytocin receptors (OTRs) in numerous areas of the rat brain. This ligand has also been applied to locating oxytocin receptors in the human brain. The results of the latter studies, however, have been brought into question because of subsequent evidence that (125)I-OTA is much less selective for oxytocin receptors vs. vasopressin receptors in the primate brain. Previously we used a monoclonal antibody directed toward a region of the human oxytocin receptors to demonstrate selective immunostaining of cell bodies and fibers in the preoptic-anterior hypothalamic area and ventral septum of a cynomolgus monkey (Boccia et al., 2001). The present study employed the same monoclonal antibody to study the location of oxytocin receptors in tissue blocks containing cortical, limbic and brainstem areas dissected from fixed adult, human female brains. oxytocin receptors were visualized in discrete cell bodies and/or fibers in the central and basolateral regions of the amygdala, medial preoptic area (MPOA), anterior and ventromedial hypothalamus, olfactory nucleus, vertical limb of the diagonal band, ventrolateral septum, anterior cingulate and hypoglossal and solitary nuclei. oxytocin receptors staining was not observed in the hippocampus (including CA2 and CA3), parietal cortex, raphe nucleus, nucleus ambiguus or pons. These results suggest that there are some similarities, but also important differences, in the locations of oxytocin receptors in human and rodent brains. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) utilizing a monoclonal antibody provides specific localization of oxytocin receptors in the human brain and thereby provides opportunity to further study oxytocin receptors in human development and psychiatric conditions.

Copyright © 2013 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Go To PubMed

Immunohistochemical localization of oxytocin receptors in human brain. Global Medical Discovery