Neuromodulation by oxytocin and vasopressin

Neuron. 2012 Oct 4;76(1):142-59. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.09.025.


Oxytocin (OT) and vasopressin (VP) are two closely related neuropeptides, widely known for their peripheral hormonal effects. Specific receptors have also been found in the brain, where their neuromodulatory actions have meanwhile been described in a large number of regions. Recently, it has become possible to study their endogenous neuropeptide release with the help of OT/VP promoter-driven expression of fluorescent proteins and light-activated ion channels. In this review, I summarize the neuromodulatory effects of OT and VP in different brain regions by grouping these into different behavioral systems, highlighting their concerted, and at times opposite, effects on different aspects of behavior.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism*
  • Oxytocin / metabolism*
  • Vasopressins / metabolism*


  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Vasopressins
  • Oxytocin