Oxytocin and vasopressin in the rodent hippocampus

Genes Brain Behav. 2019 Jan;18(1):e12535. doi: 10.1111/gbb.12535. Epub 2018 Dec 10.


The role of the hippocampus in social memory and behavior is under intense investigation. Oxytocin (Oxt) and vasopressin (Avp) are two neuropeptides with many central actions related to social cognition. Oxt- and Avp-expressing fibers are abundant in the hippocampus and receptors for both peptides are seen throughout the different subfields, suggesting that Oxt and Avp modulate hippocampal-dependent processes. In this review, we first focus on the anatomical sources of Oxt and Avp input to the hippocampus and consider the distribution of their corresponding receptors in different hippocampal subfields and neuronal populations. We next discuss the behavioral outcomes related to social memory seen with perturbation of hippocampal Oxt and Avp signaling. Finally, we review Oxt and Avp modulatory mechanisms in the hippocampus that may underlie the behavioral roles for both peptides.

Keywords: Avpr1a; Avpr1b; Oxtr; hippocampus; intrahippocampal circuits; neuromodulation; oxytocin; social memory; social recognition; vasopressin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Oxytocin / metabolism*
  • Rodentia
  • Social Learning*
  • Vasopressins / metabolism*


  • Vasopressins
  • Oxytocin