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      Intranasal oxytocin treatment for social deficits and biomarkers of response in children with autism.

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

      autism, biomarkers, clinical trial, oxytocin, social functioning

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          Abstract

          Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by core social deficits. Prognosis is poor, in part, because existing medications target only associated ASD features. Emerging evidence suggests that the neuropeptide oxytocin (OXT) may be a blood-based biomarker of social functioning and a possible treatment for ASD. However, prior OXT treatment trials have produced equivocal results, perhaps because of variability in patients' underlying neuropeptide biology, but this hypothesis has not been tested. Using a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel design, we tested the efficacy and tolerability of 4-wk intranasal OXT treatment (24 International Units, twice daily) in 32 children with ASD, aged 6-12 y. When pretreatment neuropeptide measures were included in the statistical model, OXT compared with placebo treatment significantly enhanced social abilities in children with ASD [as measured by the trial's primary outcome measure, the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS)]. Importantly, pretreatment blood OXT concentrations also predicted treatment response, such that individuals with the lowest pretreatment OXT concentrations showed the greatest social improvement. OXT was well tolerated, and its effects were specific to social functioning, with no observed decrease in repetitive behaviors or anxiety. Finally, as with many trials, some placebo-treated participants showed improvement on the SRS. This enhanced social functioning was mirrored by a posttreatment increase in their blood OXT concentrations, suggesting that increased endogenous OXT secretion may underlie this improvement. These findings indicate that OXT treatment enhances social abilities in children with ASD and that individuals with pretreatment OXT signaling deficits may stand to benefit the most from OXT treatment.

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          Most cited references 42

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          Research electronic data capture (REDCap)--a metadata-driven methodology and workflow process for providing translational research informatics support.

          Research electronic data capture (REDCap) is a novel workflow methodology and software solution designed for rapid development and deployment of electronic data capture tools to support clinical and translational research. We present: (1) a brief description of the REDCap metadata-driven software toolset; (2) detail concerning the capture and use of study-related metadata from scientific research teams; (3) measures of impact for REDCap; (4) details concerning a consortium network of domestic and international institutions collaborating on the project; and (5) strengths and limitations of the REDCap system. REDCap is currently supporting 286 translational research projects in a growing collaborative network including 27 active partner institutions.
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            Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised: A revised version of a diagnostic interview for caregivers of individuals with possible pervasive developmental disorders

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              Oxytocin, vasopressin, and the neurogenetics of sociality.

               Z Donaldson,  L Young (2008)
              There is growing evidence that the neuropeptides oxytocin and vasopressin modulate complex social behavior and social cognition. These ancient neuropeptides display a marked conservation in gene structure and expression, yet diversity in the genetic regulation of their receptors seems to underlie natural variation in social behavior, both between and within species. Human studies are beginning to explore the roles of these neuropeptides in social cognition and behavior and suggest that variation in the genes encoding their receptors may contribute to variation in human social behavior by altering brain function. Understanding the neurobiology and neurogenetics of social cognition and behavior has important implications, both clinically and for society.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                5544319
                28696286
                10.1073/pnas.1705521114

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