Sex Differences in Salivary Oxytocin and Cortisol Concentration Changes during Cooking in a Small Group.
ABSTRACT: Background: Oxytocin (OT), a neuropeptide, has positive effects on social and emotional processes during group activities. Because cooking is an integrated process in the cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional areas, cooking in a group is reported to improve emotion and cognition. However, evidence for efficacy in group cooking has not been well established at the biological level. Methods: To address this shortcoming, we first measured salivary levels of OT and cortisol (CORT), a biomarker of psychological stress, before and after group cooking for approximately 1 h by people who know each other in healthy married or unmarried men and women. We then compared the initial OT and CORT concentrations with those during individual non-cooking activities in isolation. Results: Baseline OT concentrations before group and non-group sessions did not significantly differ and OT levels increased after both types of activity in men and women. In men, however, the percentage changes of OT levels in the first over the second saliva samples were significantly small during cooking compared with those in individual activities. In women, however, such a difference was not observed. In contrast, the mean salivary CORT concentrations after group cooking were significantly decreased from the baseline level in both sexes, though such decreases were not significant after individual activity sessions. The sex-specific differences were marital-status independent. Conclusion: These results indicate that OT and CORT concentrations after two activity sessions by a familiar group changed in opposite directions in a sex-specific manner. This suggests that, because cooking is experience-based, we need to consider the sex-specific features of group cooking if we apply it for intervention.
Project description:Many emotionally-disturbed children who have been maltreated and are legally separated from their parents or primary caregivers live in group homes and receive compulsory education. Such institutions provide various special intervention programs. Taiko-ensou, a Japanese style of group drumming, is one such program because playing drums in a group may improve children's emotional well-being. However, evidence for its efficacy has not been well established at the biological level. In this study, we measured salivary levels of oxytocin (OT), a neuropeptide associated with social memory and communication, in three conditions (recital, practice, and free sessions) in four classes of school-aged children. Following the sessions, OT concentrations showed changes in various degrees and directions (no change, increases, or decreases). The mean OT concentration changes after each session increased, ranging from 112% to 165%. Plasma OT concentrations were equally sensitive to drum playing in school-aged boys and girls. However, the difference between practice and free play sessions was only significant among elementary school boys aged 8-12 years. The results suggest that younger boys are most responsive to this type of educational music intervention.
Project description:Background:Increasing evidence supports a key role of Oxytocin (OT) as a modulator of social relationships in mammals. Objective:The aim of the present study was to investigate possible sex-related differences in plasma OT levels in human beings. Methods:Forty-five healthy men and 45 women (mean age: 34.9 ± 6.2 years), were included in the study. Plasma preparation, peptide extraction and OT radioimmunoassay were carried out according to standardized methods. Results:The results showed that OT plasma levels (pg / ml, mean ± SD) were significantly higher in women than in men (4.53 ± 1.18 vs 1.53 ± 1.19, p ? 0.001). Conclusions:The present finding demonstrates sex-related differences in plasma OT levels in humans. It is tempting to hypothesize that such differences might be related to behaviours, attitudes, as well as susceptibility to stress response, resilience and social emotions specific of women and men.
Project description:The quantification of salivary oxytocin (OXT) concentrations emerges as a helpful tool to assess peripheral OXT secretion at baseline and after various challenges in healthy and clinical populations. Both positive social interactions and stress are known to induce OXT secretion, but the relative influence of either of these triggers is not well delineated. Choir singing is an activity known to improve mood and to induce feelings of social closeness, and may therefore be used to investigate the effects of positive social experiences on OXT system activity. We quantified mood and salivary OXT and cortisol (CORT) concentrations before, during, and after both choir and solo singing performed in a randomized order in the same participants (repeated measures). Happiness was increased, and worry and sadness as well as salivary CORT concentrations were reduced, after both choir and solo singing. Surprisingly, salivary OXT concentrations were significantly reduced after choir singing, but did not change in response to solo singing. Salivary OXT concentrations showed high intra-individual stability, whereas salivary CORT concentrations fluctuated between days within participants. The present data indicate that the social experience of choir singing does not induce peripheral OXT secretion, as indicated by unchanged salivary OXT levels. Rather, the reduction of stress/arousal experienced during choir singing may lead to an inhibition of peripheral OXT secretion. These data are important for the interpretation of future reports on salivary OXT concentrations, and emphasize the need to strictly control for stress/arousal when designing similar experiments.
Project description:Oxytocin (OT) and a polymorphism (rs53576) in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) have been independently associated with stress reactivity, whereas oxytocin's sister peptide, arginine vasopressin (AVP) and polymorphisms in the vasopressin receptor gene (AVPR1A) have been independently associated with aggressive behavior. In this study, 68 men and 98 women were genotyped for the OXTR rs53576 polymorphism and the AVPR1A RS1 polymorphism. Baseline and poststressor levels of plasma OT, plasma AVP, positive affect, and anger were assessed. Women, but not men, with high levels of poststressor OT and the GG genotype of rs53576 felt the most positive affect after the stressor. Men, but not women, with high levels of poststressor AVP and the 320 allele of the RS1 polymorphism reported more poststressor anger than noncarriers. These data constitute the first evidence that oxytocin and vasopressin receptor genes interact with levels of OT and AVP to predict sex-specific emotional stress responses.
Project description:Intranasal oxytocin (OT) can modulate social-emotional functioning and related brain activity in humans. Consequently, OT has been discussed as a potential treatment for psychiatric disorders involving social behavioral deficits. However, OT effects are often heterogeneous across individuals. Here we explore individual differences in OT effects on the neural response to social cooperation as a function of the rs53576 polymorphism of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR). Previously, we conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled study in which healthy men and women were randomized to treatment with intranasal OT or placebo. Afterwards, they were imaged with functional magnetic resonance imaging while playing an iterated Prisoner's Dilemma Game with same-sex partners. Within the left ventral caudate nucleus, intranasal OT treatment increased activation to reciprocated cooperation in men, but tended to decrease activation in women. Here, we show that these sex differences in OT effects are specific to individuals with the rs53576 GG genotype, and are not found for other genotypes (rs53576 AA/AG). Thus, OT may increase the reward or salience of positive social interactions for male GG homozygotes, while decreasing those processes for female GG homozygotes. These results suggest that rs53576 genotype is an important variable to consider in future investigations of the clinical efficacy of intranasal OT treatment.
Project description:The use of intranasal oxytocin (OT) in research has become increasingly important over the past decade. Although researchers have acknowledged a need for further investigation of the physiological effects of intranasal administration, few studies have actually done so. In the present double-blind cross-over study we investigated the longevity of a single 24 IU dose of intranasal OT measured in saliva in 40 healthy adult males. Salivary OT concentrations were significantly higher in the OT condition, compared to placebo. This significant difference lasted until the end of testing, approximately 108 minutes after administration, and peaked at 30 minutes. Results showed significant individual differences in response to intranasal OT administration. To our knowledge this is the largest and first all-male within-subjects design study to demonstrate the impact of intranasal OT on salivary OT concentrations. The results are consistent with previous research in suggesting that salivary OT is a valid matrix for OT measurement. The results also suggest that the post-administration 'wait-time' prior to starting experimental tasks could be reduced to 30 minutes, from the 45 minutes typically used, thereby enabling testing during peak OT concentrations. Further research is needed to ascertain whether OT concentrations after intranasal administration follow similar patterns in females, and different age groups.
Project description:Plasma oxytocin (OT) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) are associated with individual differences in emotional responses and behaviors. The amygdala is considered to be an important brain region for regulating emotion-based behavior, with OT and AVP modulating activity in the amygdala during the processing of negative emotions. In particular, increased OT levels may diminish amygdala activation (anxiolytic effects) and enhanced AVP levels may augment amygdala activation (anxiogenic effects) when negative emotions are processed. A growing body of research has shown that the effects of OT and AVP are modulated by sex: the aforementioned anxiolytic effects of OT and the anxiogenic effects of AVP occur in men, but not in women. However, we have little knowledge regarding the biological mechanisms underlying OT and AVP plasma levels or their respective anxiogenic and anxiolytic effects; similarly, little is known about the causes and nature of sex differences related to these neuropeptides and their effects on emotional processing. In the current study, we focused on the neural functions associated with the biological mechanisms underlying such effects. We hypothesized that amygdala activation would correlate with trait plasma OT (anxiolytic effects) and AVP (anxiogenic effects) levels because the amygdala is thought to affect the coordinated release of these neuropeptides following affective experiences. We further hypothesized that the effects would be modulated by sex. We assessed 51 participants (male and female) using a paradigm involving negative emotion in conjunction with functional magnetic resonance imaging and measurements of plasma OT and AVP levels. We determined that increased plasma AVP levels were positively associated with amygdala activation (anxiogenic effects) in men, but not in women. These findings highlight the potential underlying neural mechanisms of plasma AVP levels in men.
Project description:Anxiety disorders are characterized by hyperactivity in both the amygdala and the anterior insula. Interventions that normalize activity in these areas may therefore be effective in treating anxiety disorders. Recently, there has been significant interest in the potential use of oxytocin (OT), as well as vasopressin (AVP) antagonists, as treatments for anxiety disorders. In this double-blind, placebo-controlled, pharmaco- fMRI study, 153 men and 151 women were randomized to treatment with either 24 IU intranasal OT, 20 IU intranasal AVP, or placebo and imaged with fMRI as they played the iterated Prisoner's Dilemma game with same-sex human and computer partners. In men, OT attenuated the fMRI response to unreciprocated cooperation (CD), a negative social interaction, within the amygdala and anterior insula. This effect was specific to interactions with human partners. In contrast, among women, OT unexpectedly attenuated the amygdala and anterior insula response to unreciprocated cooperation from computer but not human partners. Among women, AVP did not significantly modulate the response to unreciprocated cooperation in either the amygdala or the anterior insula. However, among men, AVP attenuated the BOLD response to CD outcomes with human partners across a relatively large cluster including the amygdala and the anterior insula, which was contrary to expectations. Our results suggest that OT may decrease the stress of negative social interactions among men, whereas these effects were not found in women interacting with human partners. These findings support continued investigation into the possible efficacy of OT as a treatment for anxiety disorders.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Characterizing and comparing the determinant of cotinine concentrations in different populations should facilitate a better understanding of smoking patterns and addiction. This study describes and characterizes determinants of salivary cotinine concentration in a sample of Spanish adult daily smoker men and women. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was carried out between March 2004 and December 2005 in a representative sample of 1245 people from the general population of Barcelona, Spain. A standard questionnaire was used to gather information on active tobacco smoking and passive exposure, and a saliva specimen was obtained to determine salivary cotinine concentration. Two hundred and eleven adult smokers (>16 years old) with complete data were included in the analysis. Determinants of cotinine concentrations were assessed using linear regression models. RESULTS: Salivary cotinine concentration was associated with the reported number of cigarettes smoked in the previous 24 hours (R2 = 0.339; p < 0.05). The inclusion of a quadratic component for number of cigarettes smoked in the regression analyses resulted in an improvement of the fit (R2 = 0.386; p < 0.05). Cotinine concentration differed significantly by sex, with men having higher levels. CONCLUSION: This study shows that salivary cotinine concentration is significantly associated with the number of cigarettes smoked and sex, but not with other smoking-related variables.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Approximately 2·8 billion people are exposed to household air pollution from cooking with polluting fuels. Few monitoring studies have systematically measured health-damaging air pollutant (ie, fine particulate matter [PM2·5] and black carbon) concentrations from a wide range of cooking fuels across diverse populations. This multinational study aimed to assess the magnitude of kitchen concentrations and personal exposures to PM2·5 and black carbon in rural communities with a wide range of cooking environments. METHODS:As part of the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological (PURE) cohort, the PURE-AIR study was done in 120 rural communities in eight countries (Bangladesh, Chile, China, Colombia, India, Pakistan, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe). Data were collected from 2541 households and from 998 individuals (442 men and 556 women). Gravimetric (or filter-based) 48 h kitchen and personal PM2·5 measurements were collected. Light absorbance (10-5m-1) of the PM2·5 filters, a proxy for black carbon concentrations, was calculated via an image-based reflectance method. Surveys of household characteristics and cooking patterns were collected before and after the 48 h monitoring period. FINDINGS:Monitoring of household air pollution for the PURE-AIR study was done from June, 2017, to September, 2019. A mean PM2·5 kitchen concentration gradient emerged across primary cooking fuels: gas (45 ?g/m3 [95% CI 43-48]), electricity (53 ?g/m3 [47-60]), coal (68 ?g/m3 [61-77]), charcoal (92 ?g/m3 [58-146]), agricultural or crop waste (106 ?g/m3 [91-125]), wood (109 ?g/m3 [102-118]), animal dung (224 ?g/m3 [197-254]), and shrubs or grass (276 ?g/m3 [223-342]). Among households cooking primarily with wood, average PM2·5 concentrations varied ten-fold (range: 40-380 ?g/m3). Fuel stacking was prevalent (981 [39%] of 2541 households); using wood as a primary cooking fuel with clean secondary cooking fuels (eg, gas) was associated with 50% lower PM2·5 and black carbon concentrations than using only wood as a primary cooking fuel. Similar average PM2·5 personal exposures between women (67 ?g/m3 [95% CI 62-72]) and men (62 [58-67]) were observed. Nearly equivalent average personal exposure to kitchen exposure ratios were observed for PM2·5 (0·79 [95% 0·71-0·88] for men and 0·82 [0·74-0·91] for women) and black carbon (0·64 [0·45-0·92] for men and 0·68 [0·46-1·02] for women). INTERPRETATION:Using clean primary fuels substantially lowers kitchen PM2·5 concentrations. Importantly, average kitchen and personal PM2·5 measurements for all primary fuel types exceeded WHO's Interim Target-1 (35 ?g/m3 annual average), highlighting the need for comprehensive pollution mitigation strategies. FUNDING:Canadian Institutes for Health Research, National Institutes of Health.