Low oxytocin levels are associated with aggressive eating behavior and personality disorders

A research carried out by the San Carlos Clinical Hospital in Madrid, with the participation of the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) and the CIBER of Mental Health (CIBERSAM), shows the link between lower concentrations of Oxytocin and impulsive-aggressive behavior in people with eating disorders (ED) and in patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD).

Oxytocin is a neurohormone colloquially known as “Love hormone” or “hug hormone” for its role in childbirth and breastfeeding as it modulates social and emotional behavior.

The study published in Journal of Psychiatric Research, It is “the first work to link the role of oxytocin to aggressive behavior in people with eating disorders and BPD,” he emphasizes. Alejandra Galvez MerlinResearcher at the UCM and the Health Research Institute of the San Carlos Clinical Hospital in Madrid (IdISSC).

It is the first work to link the role of oxytocin to aggressive behavior in people with eating disorders and BPD.

Alejandra Gálvez Merlín, researcher at UCM

To conduct the study, plasma levels of oxytocin and protein expression of its receptor were analyzed 68 people with BPD, 67 people with ED and 57 healthy people without neuropsychiatric pathologies from different Spanish hospitals.

In return it was evaluated aggressive behavior of the two clinical groups through the Spanish version of the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI-2) and a record of aggressive behavior towards oneself (self-harm) and towards other people (verbal violence, physical violence, etc.).

Finally, the plasma levels of oxytocin and the protein expression of its receptor were compared between the three groups (BPD, ED and controls) and the relationship between the oxytocin system and the aggressiveness variables was examined for both clinical groups.

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Biomarkers in neurobiology

The results of this work expand knowledge about the role of oxytocin as a biomarker in the complex neurobiology of impulsive-aggressive personality disorders and its connection to aggressive behavior.

This could contribute to the development of new pharmacological treatments for this type of patient.

osé Manuel López Villatoro, IdISSC researcher

“This could contribute to the development of new pharmacological treatments for this type of patient,” he explains. Jose Manuel Lopez VillatoroResearcher at IdISSC and associate professor at UCM.

In addition to the San Carlos Clinical Hospital in Madrid, the Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital in Santander and the General University Hospital in Ciudad Real also participated in this research.

Reference:

Carrasco JL et al. “Decreased oxytocin plasma levels and oxytocin receptor expression associated with aggressive behavior in aggressive-impulsive disorders.” Psychiatrist Res.

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