Genetic and epigenetic regulatory mechanisms of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) and the (clinical) implications for social behavior.

Horm Behav. 2018 Mar 02;:

Authors: Tops S, Habel U, Radke S

Abstract
Oxytocin and the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) play an important role in a large variety of social behaviors. The oxytocinergic system interacts with environmental cues and is highly dependent on interindividual factors. Deficits in this system have been linked to mental disorders associated with social impairments, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This review focuses on the modulation of social behavior by alterations in two domains of the oxytocinergic system. We discuss genetic and epigenetic regulatory mechanisms and alterations in these mechanisms that were found to have clinical implications for ASD. We propose possible explanations how these alterations affect the biological pathways underlying the aberrant social behavior and point out avenues for future research. We advocate the need for integration studies that combine multiple measures covering a broad range of social behaviors and link these to genetic and epigenetic profiles.

PMID: 29505762 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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