Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology
ORAL RESEARCH PRESENTATIONS

Serum oxytocin levels in patients with depression, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder diagnosed according to DSM-5 criteria compared with healthy controls

1.

Department of Psychiatry, Izzet Baysal University, School of Medicine, Bolu, Turkey

2.

Department of Psychiatry, Abant Izzet Baysal University, School of Medicine, Bolu, Turkey

3.

Osmaniye State Hospital, Osmaniye, Turkey

4.

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Bolu, Turkey

5.

Afsin State Hospital, Afsin, Kahramanmaras, Turkey

Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology 2016; 26: Supplement S35-S87
Read: 1610 Downloads: 561 Published: 22 January 2021

OBJECTIVE: Oxytocin is a hormone which effects are well known on birth, breastfeeding, and bonding between mother and child and couples. In addition, oxytocin is called endogenous anti-stress, antidepressants, and anxiolytic hormone and reported that it would increase in stressful situations in order to reduce the hyperactivity of the HPA axis and amygdala, facilitate to coping with stress and improve social functioning. In this study, it was aimed to compare serum oxytocin levels with depression, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, panic disorder with agoraphobia, and social anxiety disorder patients with healthy controls.

METHODS: Total 176 participants admitted to the Abant Izzet Baysal University School of Medicine psychiatry outpatient clinic between October 2013 to January 2015, between 18-65 years of age, without any psychotropic drugs, 50 patients (25 male, 25 female) diagnosed with major depression, 25 patients (9 male and 16 female) diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, 31 patients (14 male and 17 female) diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, 40 patients (17 male and 23 female) diagnosed with panic disorder, and 30 healthy control (13 male and 17 female)were included in this study. Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HRDS), Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A), Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI-3) were administered to all groups. In addition, Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-Item Test (GAD-7) was administered to patients with generalized anxiety disorder, Panic Disorder Severity Scale (PDSS) was administered to patients with panic disorder, and Liebowitz Social Phobia Scale (LSPS) was administered to patients with social anxiety disorder. Serum levels of oxytocin from all of the study groups included in the study was measured by ELISA.

RESULTS: In patients with depression, serum oxytocin levels were significantly lower compared with the healthy controls. In patients with generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder with agoraphobia serum levels of oxytocin were significantly higher compared with the healthy controls. In patients with panic disorder, serum levels of oxytocin tended to be higher but not statistically significant difference compared with the healthy controls. In depressed patients with anxiety subtype, serum levels of oxytocin were significantly higher compared with melancholic and atypical subtypes of the depressed patients and the healthy controls. In patients with panic disorder with agoraphobia, serum levels of oxytocin were significantly higher compared with the panic disorder patients without agoraphobia. There were no significant differences in oxytocin levels between generalized and performance subtype of generalized anxiety disorder patients.

CONCLUSIONS: In this study, lower oxytocin levels in depressed patients may be a factor contributing to the development of depression, because of oxytocin is thought to increase the production of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine and activate BDNF production, MAP kinase pathway, and phosphorylation of CREB. Increased oxtyocin levels in patients with anxiety subtype of depression, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder with agoraphobia, and social anxiety disorder may be a compensatory mechanism to reduce anxiety and stress or oxytocin receptor dysfunction. 

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