REVIEW Possible actions of gonadal oxytocin and vasopressin

in Reproduction


The hypothalamo—neurohypophysial system is involved in the synthesis and release of the two posterior pituitary hormones, oxytocin and vasopressin. The involvement of these hormones in lactation, parturition, vasoconstriction and the regulation of diuresis is well established, and will not be covered in this review. It has been suspected for some time that they may also be involved in other factors concerned with reproduction such as sperm transport and luteolysis (see Harris, 1947; Cross, 1955; Armstrong & Hansel, 1959). Many early studies used pharmacological doses of these hormones when testing their effects on reproduction and this led to questions concerning the physiological validity of the results. However, it has now been demonstrated that the gonads of a number of mammals contain large amounts of oxytocin and somewhat lower concentrations of vasopressin which they probably synthesize (Wathes & Swann, 1982; Wathes et al., 1982, 1983b; Flint & Sheldrick, 1982, 1983; Wathes,


An official journal of

Society for Reproduction and Fertility



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