About this Research Topic
Recently it has become clear that oxytocin is much more than a female reproductive hormone.
It has been shown to have multiple beneficial psychological and physiological effects induced by peripheral and central actions which may promote health. Oxytocin has e.g. been shown to influence social interaction, cognitive processes, and memory, perception, and mood, to decrease anxiety, stress levels, pain and inflammation. It may also influence metabolic processes and stimulate healing, restoration, and growth. It is likely that oxytocin acts by influencing the release of other hormones, neurotransmitters and by activating the autonomic nervous system. It is also possible that it is involved in more direct actions on cellular and intracellular mechanisms.
Obviously, all these actions may positively influence mental and physical health. Sensory stimulations of different kinds e.g. visual, auditory, olfactory as well as tactile stimuli and warmth, have been shown to be associated with a similar effect pattern to that of oxytocin and to be associated sometimes with oxytocin release. It is proposed that there is a functional link between these types of sensory stimulation and oxytocin release into the periphery and the brain.
The association between sensory stimulation and oxytocin release has been largely overlooked and therefore deserves to be further explored. This Research Topic covers effects caused by oxytocin and/or by sensory stimulation. Oxytocin could be administered to humans or animals, or its release stimulated by other substances e.g. via serotonergic mechanisms. Sensory stimulation could be induced experimentally, both in humans and animals. In addition, sensory stimulation could be part of the interaction between humans (closeness, touching, holding) and different types of therapeutic interventions (such as massage of muscles and skin and other types of pleasant tactile stimulation).
This Research Topic also covers more specific types of sensory stimulation (e.g. birth, breastfeeding, skin to skin contact, food intake and sexual interaction) as well as the interaction between humans, between humans and animals and between humans and different aspects of nature.
Studies in which the related physiological effects of oxytocin listed above (or others) are included in this call. In addition, studies in which oxytocin is linked to psychological measures such as behavior, social interaction, personality, attachment style, mood, mental imagery and other types of psychological or sociological measures are also welcome.
Studies linking physical or mental disease to oxytocin as well as the effect of therapeutic interventions are of interest.
Manuscripts with an evolutionary perspective on oxytocin and its effects are equally welcome.
We do not only welcome studies involving the effects induced by administration of oxytocin and/or sensory stimulation but also studies on the neurogenic, neuroendocrine, cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the actions of oxytocin and/or sensory stimulation.
This Research Topic is multidisciplinary and experts within different fields of expertise, e.g. from medicine (human and veterinary), physiology, neurophysiology, pharmacology, physiotherapy, psychology, sociology, pedagogics, biology, agricultural sciences etc., are welcome to submit papers.
We welcome the following submission formats: original research, reviews, hypothesis, and theories as well as perspectives.
Keywords: Oxytocin, Health promotion, Social interaction, Stress and Pain and Inflammation, Sensory stimulation
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.