Intranasal oxytocin mechanisms can be better understood but its effects on social cognition and behavior are not to be sniffed at


The administration of intranasal oxytocin (OT) has demonstrated a wide range of effects on social behavior and cognition, which has led to its proposed use as a treatment for psychiatric disorders characterized by social cognition deficits. Leng and Ludwig ( 1 ) have raised many important issues in regard to intranasal OT research in their provocatively titled review. We wholeheartedly agree with the authors’ opinion that the mechanisms underlying intranasal OT are poorly understood ( 2 ). However, the authors appear to be making the case that the behavioral effects of OT are suspect because the specific mechanisms of the effect of intranasal OT on social behavior and cognition are not well known. We comment on some aspects of this review and highlight recent work with intranasal OT that provides much needed dose-response data controlling for peripheral effects.

Biological Psychiatry