Oxytocin levels are lower in premenopausal women with type 1 diabetes mellitus compared with matched controls

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Oxytocin, a hormone most commonly associated with parturition and lactation, may have additional roles in diabetes complications. We determined oxytocin levels in premenopausal women with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) compared with non-diabetic controls and examined associations of oxytocin with health behaviours, clinical factors, biomarkers, kidney function and bone health. Lower oxytocin was hypothesized for T1DM.


A cross-sectional study of premenopausal women with T1DM (n = 88) from the Wisconsin Diabetes Registry Study, a population-based cohort of incident T1DM cases, and matched non-diabetic controls (n = 74) was conducted.


Women with T1DM had lower oxytocin levels than controls adjusting for caffeine and alcohol use (p = 0.03). Health behaviours associated with oxytocin differed between women with and without T1DM: oxytocin was negatively associated with hormonal contraceptive use (quantified as lifetime contraceptive oestrogen exposure) in women with T1DM (p = 0.003), whereas positively related to hormonal contraceptive use (quantified as never/former/current) in controls (p < 0.001). Oxytocin had a positive association with adiposity (waist-to-hip ratio and leptin) in women with T1DM and a negative relationship with adiposity (weight gain) in controls. In T1DM only, oxytocin was positively associated with caffeine intake (p = 0.01) and negatively associated with alcohol use (p = 0.01). Oxytocin was not related to glycemic control, kidney function or bone health in T1DM.


Oxytocin levels are lower in women with T1DM than matched controls. Oxytocin also has opposing associations with hormonal contraceptives and adiposity in women with and without T1DM. Research is needed to determine if the altered oxytocin milieu in T1DM is associated with oxytocinher health outcomes. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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