Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)
Psychology (Arts and Sciences)
Date of Defense
First Committee Member
Philip McCabe - Committee Chair
Second Committee Member
Julia Zaias - Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Edward Green - Committee Member
Fourth Committee Member
Neil Schneiderman - Committee Member
Fifth Committee Member
Armando Mendez - Outside Committee Member
Social support has been demonstrated to reduce cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality; however, the mechanisms by which social support reduces disease progression are still unclear. Oxytocin (OT) is a neuropeptide commonly associated with positive social interactions. This series of studies investigated the ability of oxytocin to attenuate atherosclerosis and its putative mediators, pro-inflammatory cytokines. Oxytocin receptors were identified by Western Blot on rat adipose tissue and rat adipocytes. OT receptor mRNA was identified in human adipocyte cDNA. In primary culture of rat abdominal adipocytes, oxytocin (10 pM) decreased LPS-induced IL-6 release by 24.9% after a six hour incubation. Adipose tissue, surgically dissected from ApoE-/- mice chronically infused with OT, secreted less IL-6 than mice infused with a vehicle control. In sum, the presence of OT receptors was demonstrated on adipocytes, OT was shown to reduce IL-6 release in vitro, and chronic OT infusion decreased IL-6 release in adipose explants immediately after sacrifice. Potential mechanisms by which adipose tissue's role in the sympathetic nervous system response may affect inflammation, metabolism, and disease are discussed.
Social Support; Oxytocin; Adipocyte
Brooks, Lawrence G., "Adipose Tissue Cytokines: Effects of Social Condition" (2009). Open Access Dissertations. 428.