Accumulating evidence demonstrates the important role of oxytocin (OT) in the modulation of social cognition and behavior. This has led many to suggest that the intranasal administration of OT may ben- efit psychiatric disorders characterized by social dysfunction, such as autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia. Here, we review nasal anatomy and OT pathways to central and peripheral destinations, along with the impact of OT delivery to these destinations on social behavior and cognition. The primary goal of this review is to describe how these identified pathways may contribute to mechanisms of OT action on social cognition and behavior (that is, modulation of social information processing, anxiolytic effects, increases in approach-behaviors). We propose a two-level model involving three pathways to account for responses observed in both social cognition and behavior after intranasal OT administration and suggest avenues for future research to advance this research field.
Quintana, D.S., Alvares, G. A., Hickie, I.H., Guastella, A. J. (2015). Do delivery routes of intranasally administered oxytocin account for observed effects on social cognition and behavior? A two-level model. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 49, 182-192, doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.12.011