Pharmacol Ther. 2021 Feb 15:107820. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2021.107820. Online ahead of print.
Drug addiction is one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide. Despite great advances were achieved in understanding the neurobiology of drug addiction, the therapeutic options are severely limited, with poor effectiveness and serious side effects. The neuropeptide oxytocin (OXT) is well known for its effects on uterine contraction, sexual/maternal behaviors, social affiliation, stress and learning/memory by interacting with the OXT receptor and other neuromodulators. Emerging evidence suggests that the acute or chronic exposure to drugs can affect the OXT system. Additionally, OXT administration can ameliorate a wide range of abused drug-induced neurobehavioral changes. Overall, OXT not only suppresses drug reward in the binge stage of drug addiction, but also reduces stress responses and social impairments during the withdrawal stage and, finally, prevents drug/cue/stress-induced reinstatement. More importantly, clinical studies have also shown that OXT can exert beneficial effects on reducing substance use disorders of a series of drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, alcohol, cannabis and nicotine. Thus, the present review focuses on the role of OXT in treating drug addiction, including the preclinical and clinical therapeutic potential of OXT and its analogs on the neurobiological perspectives of drugs, to provide a better insight of the efficacy of OXT as a clinical addiction therapeutic agent.
Source: ncbi 2