Video encyclopedia



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Oxytocin (Oxt; ) is a peptide hormone and neuropeptide. Oxytocin is normally produced by the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus and released by the posterior pituitary. It plays a role in social bonding, sexual reproduction in both sexes, and during and after childbirth. Oxytocin is released into the bloodstream as a hormone in response to stretching of the cervix and uterus during labor and with stimulation of the nipples from breastfeeding. This helps with birth, bonding with the baby, and milk production. Oxytocin was discovered by Henry Dale in 1906. Its molecular structure was determined in 1952. Oxytocin is also used as a medication to facilitate childbirth.