Oxytocin reduces adipose tissue inflammation in obese mice

Angela Szeto, Monia Cecati, Raisa Ahmed, Philip M. McCabe, Armando J. Mendez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Obesity and adipose tissue expansion is characterized by a chronic state of systemic inflammation that contributes to disease. The neuropeptide, oxytocin, working through its receptor has been shown to attenuate inflammation in sepsis, wound healing, and cardiovascular disease. The current study examined the effects of chronic oxytocin infusions on adipose tissue inflammation in a murine model of obesity, the leptin receptor-deficient (db/db) mouse. Methods: The effect of obesity on oxytocin receptor protein and mRNA expression in adipose tissue was evaluated by Western blotting and real-time polymerase chain reaction. Mice were implanted with osmotic minipumps filled with oxytocin or vehicle for 8 weeks. At study endpoint adipose tissue inflammation was assessed by measurement of cytokine and adipokine mRNA tissue levels, adipocyte size and macrophage infiltration via histopathology, and plasma levels of adiponectin and serum amyloid A as markers of systemic inflammation. Results: The expression of adipose tissue oxytocin receptor was increased in obese db/db mice compared to lean controls. In adipose tissue oxytocin infusion reduced adipocyte size, macrophage infiltration, IL-6 and TNFα mRNA expression, and increased the expression of the anti-inflammatory adipokine, adiponectin. In plasma, oxytocin infusion reduced the level of serum amyloid A, a marker of systemic inflammation, and increased circulating adiponectin. Conclusions: In an animal model of obesity and diabetes chronic oxytocin treatment led to a reduction in visceral adipose tissue inflammation and plasma markers of systemic inflammation, which may play a role in disease progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number188
JournalLipids in Health and Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 20 2020


  • Adipose tissue
  • Anti-inflammation
  • Obese mouse model
  • Obesity
  • Oxytocin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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