Oxytocin signaling is necessary for synaptic maturation of adult-born neurons

Genes Dev. 2022 Nov-Dec;36(21-24):1100-1118. doi: 10.1101/gad.349930.122. Epub 2022 Dec 8.


Neural circuit plasticity and sensory response dynamics depend on forming new synaptic connections. Despite recent advances toward understanding the consequences of circuit plasticity, the mechanisms driving circuit plasticity are unknown. Adult-born neurons within the olfactory bulb have proven to be a powerful model for studying circuit plasticity, providing a broad and accessible avenue into neuron development, migration, and circuit integration. We and others have shown that efficient adult-born neuron circuit integration hinges on presynaptic activity in the form of diverse signaling peptides. Here, we demonstrate a novel oxytocin-dependent mechanism of adult-born neuron synaptic maturation and circuit integration. We reveal spatial and temporal enrichment of oxytocin receptor expression within adult-born neurons in the murine olfactory bulb, with oxytocin receptor expression peaking during activity-dependent integration. Using viral labeling, confocal microscopy, and cell type-specific RNA-seq, we demonstrate that oxytocin receptor signaling promotes synaptic maturation of newly integrating adult-born neurons by regulating their morphological development and expression of mature synaptic AMPARs and other structural proteins.

Keywords: development; neurogenesis; neuropeptides; olfactory; oxytocin; synaptogenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Mice
  • Neurogenesis
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Olfactory Bulb / metabolism
  • Oxytocin* / metabolism
  • Receptors, Oxytocin* / genetics
  • Receptors, Oxytocin* / metabolism


  • Oxytocin
  • Receptors, Oxytocin