Oxytocin is generated by the hypothalamus and from that point it is conducted through a protein to the posterior lobe of the pituitary by nerve fibers; From the pituitary gland it is released throughout the bloodstream in order to reach the various organs to which it is directed.
It is important to note that oxytocin can be handled either as a neurotransmitter or as a hormone directly influencing the activities managed within the vegetative nervous system.
Discovery of oxytocin
The word oxytocin , which derives from the Greek oxys (fast) and tokos (childbirth), was coined more than a century ago by the neurophysiologist Henry Hallet Dale after observing that a substance extracted from the human brain was capable of causing uterine contractions in pregnant cats. . But it was not until 1953 that its chemical formula was discovered.
Since then, its role has been known, among other aspects, in the triggering and support of labor contractions, as well as in dilation at the time of delivery. For the synthesis of this hormone, Vincent du Vigneaud received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1955 and since then, highly purified synthetic oxytocin has been used in obstetrics.
Examples of reaction in the body thanks to oxytocin
- When you feel the body is in danger, you activate the run or fight protocol . In the human body, a series of actions takes place that occur in a chain from the increase in blood pressure to the increase in blood flow in the body to the most necessary extremities. This reaction allows the body to position itself on high alert.
- When the body feels in a state of total calm and placidity . In this case, the hormones released are endorphin, dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin. This state of the body is called positive biological response since it is in total and absolute calm and can be induced through conscious breathing, massage, among others.
- Oxytocin allows a person to detect the emotional situation of other people and generate empathy with him or her, allowing us to react in an affective way. This hormone can be secreted through eye contact, this allows non-verbal communication and therefore a bond of affectivity.
- The process of childbirth in the case of women, is done through the release of this hormone.
- The breastfeeding causes oxytocin release. This hormone is in charge of the breast milk production process.
- When you have relationships of a sexual nature, the final act, called orgasm, allows release oxytocin.