Consequences of early experiences and exposure to oxytocin and vasopressin are sexually dimorphic

Dev Neurosci. 2009;31(4):332-41. doi: 10.1159/000216544. Epub 2009 Jun 17.


In the socially monogamous prairie vole, we have observed that small changes in early handling, as well as early hormonal manipulations can have long-lasting and sexually dimorphic effects on behavior. These changes may be mediated in part by changes in parental interactions with their young, acting on systems that rely on oxytocin (OT) and arginine vasopressin (AVP). Knowledge of both endogenous and exogenous influences on systems that rely on OT and AVP may be helpful in understanding sexually dimorphic developmental disorders, such as autism, that are characterized by increased anxiety and deficits in social behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arginine Vasopressin / metabolism*
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiology
  • Humans
  • Oxytocin / metabolism*
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Receptors, Vasopressin / metabolism
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Social Behavior


  • Peptides
  • Receptors, Vasopressin
  • Arginine Vasopressin
  • Oxytocin