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Pharmaceuticals 2009, 2(3), 168-183; doi:10.3390/ph203168

Oxytocin: Old Hormone, New Drug

*  and
Laboratory of Cardiovascular Biochemistry, Centre de recherche, Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CRCHUM)–Hôtel-Dieu, Department of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 November 2009 / Revised: 1 December 2009 / Accepted: 2 December 2009 / Published: 9 December 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antihypertensive Drugs)
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Oxytocin (OT), traditionally associated with reproductive functions, was revisited recently, and several new functions in cardiovascular regulation were discovered. These functions include stimulation of the cardioprotective mediators nitric oxide (NO) and atrial natriuretic peptide. OT’s cardiovascular outcomes comprise: (i) natriuresis, (ii) blood pressure reduction, (iii) negative inotropic and chronotropic effects, (iv) parasympathetic neuromodulation, (v) NO pathway involvement in vasodilatation and endothelial cell growth, (vi) anti-inflammatory and (vii) antioxidant activities as well as (viii) metabolic effects. In addition, we have reported abundant OT in the early developing heart with its capacity to generate cardiomyocytes (CMs) from mouse embryonic stem cells and stem cells residing in the heart. OT increases glucose uptake by cultured CMs, in normal, hypoxic and even in insulin resistance conditions. In experimentally-induced myocardial infarction in rats, continuous in vivo OT delivery improves the cardiac healing process and cardiac work, diminishes inflammation, and stimulates angiogenesis. Therefore, in pathological situations, OT plays an anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective role, enhancing vascular and metabolic functions, with potential therapeutic application(s).
Keywords: oxytocin; stem cells; heart; cardiomyogenesis oxytocin; stem cells; heart; cardiomyogenesis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Gutkowska, J.; Jankowski, M. Oxytocin: Old Hormone, New Drug. Pharmaceuticals 2009, 2, 168-183.

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