Oxytocin (Oxt) is known to regulate social communication, stress and body weight. The activation of Oxt receptors (OTR) has clinical potential to abate stress disorders and metabolic syndrome. Kamikihito (KKT) is a traditional Japanese medicine used to treat psychological stress-related disorders. We investigated the effects of KKT, its ingredients and chemical components on Oxt neurons and OTR. C-Fos expression was examined after oral and peripheral administration of KKT in rats. Electrophysiological change of Oxt neurons and Oxt release upon application of KKT were measured in rat brain slice. The direct effect of KKT, its ingredients and its chemical components were examined by cytosolic Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i) measurement in Oxt neurons and OTR-expressing HEK293 cells. Both intraperitoneal and oral administration of KKT in rats induced c-Fos expression in neurons of the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) including Oxt neurons. Application of KKT induced activation of Oxt neurons and Oxt release. KKT increased [Ca2+]i in OTR-expressing HEK293 cells, and failed to activate with OTR antagonist. KKT-induced PVN Oxt neuron activation was also attenuated by OTR antagonist. Seven chemical components (rutin, ursolic acid, (Z)-butylidenephtalide, p-cymene, senkunolide, [6]-shogaol, [8]-shogaol) of three ingredients (Zyzyphi Fructus, Angelicae Acutilobae Radix, Zingiberis Rhizoma) from KKT had potential to activate OTR. KKT can directly activate PVN Oxt neurons by interacting with OTR. The interaction of seven chemical components from KKT may contribute to activate OTR. Effect of KKT on Oxt neurons and OTR may contribute to the treatment of Oxt related disorders.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.