Dendritic peptide release and peptide-dependent behaviours

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2006 Feb;7(2):126-36. doi: 10.1038/nrn1845.


Neuropeptides that are released from dendrites, such as oxytocin and vasopressin, function as autocrine or paracrine signals at their site of origin, but can also act at distant brain targets to evoke long-lasting changes in behaviour. Oxytocin, for instance, has profound effects on social bonding that are exerted at sites that richly express oxytocin receptors, but which are innervated by few, if any, oxytocin-containing projections. How can a prolonged, diffuse signal have coherent behavioural consequences? The recently demonstrated ability of neuropeptides to prime vesicle stores for activity-dependent release could lead to a temporary functional reorganization of neuronal networks harbouring specific peptide receptors, providing a substrate for long-lasting effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autocrine Communication / physiology*
  • Dendrites / metabolism*
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neuropeptides / physiology*
  • Oxytocin / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Vasopressins / physiology


  • Neuropeptides
  • Vasopressins
  • Oxytocin