Neuroendocrine mechanisms of stress and social interaction: implications for mental disorders

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Purpose of reviewThe purpose of the present review is to consider further evidence for the role of neuroendocrine mechanisms in mental disorders by focusing on recent trends and advances in the field of psychoneuroendocrinology.Recent findingsRecent studies confirm the importance of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis for the development and course of mental disorders. Notably, the neuropeptide oxytocin has been shown to reduce the responsiveness of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis to social stress and to improve social approach behavior. A better understanding of the neuroendocrine mechanisms of action underlying normal behavior has recently been translated to studies investigating novel therapeutic approaches using hormone administration.SummaryNeuroendocrine systems relevant to behavior clearly demonstrate their impact for the field of psychiatry. Further neuroendocrine research provides insight into the origins of mental disorders both from an etiological perspective and an interventional perspective.

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