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Love hormone prevents osteoporosis

Publicado em 11 junho 2020

Oxytocin, or oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone” because it is released in the presence of partners, can also be a strong ally in controlling and preventing osteoporosis.

Experiments performed on female laboratory animals at the end of the fertile period showed that the hormone reversed factors that precede osteoporosis, such as the decrease in bone density and resistance and also substances that favor bone formation.

Osteoporosis has a high incidence in postmenopausal women.

“Our study focuses on the prevention of primary osteoporosis; therefore, we investigate physiological mechanisms that occur in the pre-menopausal period. In this stage of a woman’s life, preventive measures can prevent bones from becoming fragile and fractures, which it could reduce quality and life expectancy, “explains professor Rita Menegati Dornelles, from Unesp (Universidade Estadual Paulista) in Araatuba.


In the experiment, the researchers applied to the animals in the intervention group only two doses of the hormone oxytocin – with a 12-hour difference between one injection and another.

In comparison with the control group, animals that received oxytocin doses showed bone structure without signs of loss of bone density. “Oxytocin helps to modulate the bone remodeling cycle of senescent rats. Animals that received the hormone had an increase in biochemical markers associated with bone renewal, such as the expression of proteins that favor bone formation and mineralization,” said Rita.

There are two important hormonal milestones in a woman’s life: puberty and perimenopause, the transition to menopause, which can last for several years. These events mark, respectively, the beginning and the end of the fertility period.

“Postmenopausal women are studied a lot when women stop menstruating. However, the hormonal fluctuations that occur before, in perimenopause, are already quite strong and are related to the gradual decrease in bone density. prevention of osteoporosis in this phase, since the period after menopause represents about a third of life and must be lived with quality, “reinforced Rita.


Oxytocin is a hormone produced in the cerebral hypothalamus and was characterized at the beginning of the last century and its release was associated, above all, with childbirth and breastfeeding. More recent studies have shown that a large number of cells (in addition to hypothalamus) also secrete the hormone.

“Oxytocin is secreted by bone cells and our studies are showing its association with female bone metabolism during the aging process. Generally, postmenopausal women with a higher rate of osteoporosis have lower concentrations of oxytocin in the blood plasma , “said Rita.

Hip fractures, for example, occur three times more frequently in the female body. The consequences of these fractures are very dramatic, such as difficulty or impossibility of locomotion and comorbidities. Up to 24% of patients die in the first year after a hip fracture and the increased risk of death can persist for at least five years.

The researchers intend to conduct, in the future, clinical studies on the effect of oxytocin on the prevention of osteoporosis in humans. “The hormone produced naturally in our body and has already been synthesized in the laboratory. Even so, a long study will be necessary to evaluate the efficacy, safety and also to know the most suitable dosage of the hormone,” concluded Rita.

Check with scientific article:Article: Oxytocin and bone quality in the femoral neck of rats in periestropause

Authors: Fernanda Fernandes, Camila Tami Stringhetta-Garcia, Melise Jacon Peres-Ueno, Fabiana Fernandes, Angela Cristina de Nicola, Robson Chacon Castoldi, Guilherme Ozaki, Mrio Jefferson Quirino Louzada, Antonio Hernandes Chaves-Neto, Edilson Ervolino, Rita Cssia Menegati Dornelles

Publication: Nature Scientific Reports

Vol .: 10, Article number: 7937

DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-020-64683-0

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With information from Fapesp Agency