Objective: The psychotropic mediator and neuropeptide hormone oxytocin (OXT) is emerging as a promising treatment of metabolic disorders (obesity and dysglycemia). This review focuses on studies relevant to OXT use and its mechanisms of action in metabolic disorders and wellness behavior motivation.
Methods: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and cohort and preclinical studies identified in electronic databases were reviewed.
Results: There were only a few RCTs and cohort studies related to OXT and metabolic disorders. Anorexigenic and weight-loss effects of intranasal OXT (IOXT) were evaluated in 3 double-blind RCTs involving 85 subjects. A single dose of 24 IU reduced caloric intake by 122 kcal. The 24 IU 4-times daily dose for 8 weeks produced ~9-kg weight loss (P<.001 vs. placebo) and a trend toward reduced postprandial glucose and insulin levels. Similarly, in a double-blind RCT IOXT versus placebo increased the willingness to cooperate and the expectation that others will cooperate at prosocial tasks. A cohort study showed lower serum OXT level in obese versus normal-weight subjects and a negative correlation with body mass index. Circulating OXT was also lower in type 2 diabetes versus normoglycemic subjects and negatively correlated with glycosylated hemoglobin A1C and insulin resistance.
Conclusion: The gap of knowledge remains on the efficacy of OXT for metabolic indications. It is a challenge to the scientific community to provide data that can be disseminated to inform the scientific community, medical personnel, and the public about the potential benefits and risks of chronic OXT use.
Abbreviations: CNS = central nervous system DM1 = diabetes mellitus type 1 DM2 = diabetes mellitus type 2 GDM = gestational diabetes mellitus GI = gastrointestinal GMB = gut microbiota IOXT = intranasal oxytoxcin OXT = oxytocin OXTR = oxytocin receptor sOXT = serum oxytocin.