DNA damage after chronic oxytocin administration in rats: a safety yellow light?

Metab Brain Dis. 2017 Feb;32(1):51-55. doi: 10.1007/s11011-016-9885-z. Epub 2016 Aug 3.


Adjuvant therapy is a common therapeutic strategy used for schizophrenia management. Oxytocin has shown promising results as antipsychotic adjuvant in patients with schizophrenia. Although short-term clinical studies have indicated tolerability and no major side-effect manifestation, long-term studies remain needed. In this study, we investigated whether oxytocin chronic administration in rats may lead to brain DNA damage by comet assay. Our results suggest that 21 and 56-day treatment with once daily intraperitoneal oxytocin (0.1, 1.0 and 10.0 mg/kg) may cause substantial DNA damage in hippocampus. We have not found differences on body weight gain. Our findings also point that further clinical and preclinical studies evaluating oxytocin safety after chronic exposure are necessary.

Keywords: Autism; Comet assay; DNA damage; Oxytocin; Schizophrenia.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • DNA Damage / drug effects*
  • Hippocampus / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Oxytocin / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Oxytocin