Variation in the oxytocin receptor gene is associated with pair-bonding and social behavior

Hasse Walum, Paul Lichtenstein, Jenae Marie Neiderhiser, David Reiss, Jody M. Ganiban, Erica L. Spotts, Nancy L. Pedersen, Henrik Anckarster, Henrik Larsson, Lars Westberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

125 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: In specific vole and primate species the neuropeptide oxytocin plays a central role in the regulation of pair-bonding behavior. Here we investigate the extent to which genetic variants in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) are associated with pair-bonding and related social behaviors in humans. Methods: We first genotyped twelve single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the TOSS (Twin and Offspring Study in Sweden) (n = 2309) and the TCHAD (Swedish Twin Study of Child and Adolescent Development) (n = 1240), comprising measures of self-reported pair-bonding behavior. In the TOSS sample we further investigated one of the SNPs for measures of marital status and quality. Moreover, in the TCHAD sample we explored the longitudinal relationship between precursors of pair-bonding during childhood and subsequent behavior in romantic relationships. Finally, in the TCHAD study and in the Child and Adolescent Twin Study of Sweden (CATSS) (n = 1771), the association between the same SNP and childhood behaviors was investigated. Results: One SNP (rs7632287) in OXTR was associated with traits reflecting pair-bonding in women in the TOSS and TCHAD samples. In girls the rs7632287 SNP was further associated with childhood social problems, which longitudinally predicted pair-bonding behavior in the TCHAD sample. This association was replicated in the CATSS sample in which an association between the same SNP and social interaction deficit symptoms from the autism spectrum was detected. Conclusion: These results suggest an association between variation in OXTR and human pair-bonding and other social behaviors, possibly indicating that the well-described influence of oxytocin on affiliative behavior in voles could also be of importance for humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-426
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Volume71
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012

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Oxytocin Receptors
Twin Studies
Social Behavior
Adolescent Development
Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
Child Development
Sweden
Genes
Arvicolinae
Oxytocin
Object Attachment
Social Problems
Marital Status
Interpersonal Relations
Autistic Disorder
Neuropeptides
Primates

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biological Psychiatry

Cite this

Walum, Hasse ; Lichtenstein, Paul ; Neiderhiser, Jenae Marie ; Reiss, David ; Ganiban, Jody M. ; Spotts, Erica L. ; Pedersen, Nancy L. ; Anckarster, Henrik ; Larsson, Henrik ; Westberg, Lars. / Variation in the oxytocin receptor gene is associated with pair-bonding and social behavior. In: Biological Psychiatry. 2012 ; Vol. 71, No. 5. pp. 419-426.
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title = "Variation in the oxytocin receptor gene is associated with pair-bonding and social behavior",
abstract = "Background: In specific vole and primate species the neuropeptide oxytocin plays a central role in the regulation of pair-bonding behavior. Here we investigate the extent to which genetic variants in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) are associated with pair-bonding and related social behaviors in humans. Methods: We first genotyped twelve single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the TOSS (Twin and Offspring Study in Sweden) (n = 2309) and the TCHAD (Swedish Twin Study of Child and Adolescent Development) (n = 1240), comprising measures of self-reported pair-bonding behavior. In the TOSS sample we further investigated one of the SNPs for measures of marital status and quality. Moreover, in the TCHAD sample we explored the longitudinal relationship between precursors of pair-bonding during childhood and subsequent behavior in romantic relationships. Finally, in the TCHAD study and in the Child and Adolescent Twin Study of Sweden (CATSS) (n = 1771), the association between the same SNP and childhood behaviors was investigated. Results: One SNP (rs7632287) in OXTR was associated with traits reflecting pair-bonding in women in the TOSS and TCHAD samples. In girls the rs7632287 SNP was further associated with childhood social problems, which longitudinally predicted pair-bonding behavior in the TCHAD sample. This association was replicated in the CATSS sample in which an association between the same SNP and social interaction deficit symptoms from the autism spectrum was detected. Conclusion: These results suggest an association between variation in OXTR and human pair-bonding and other social behaviors, possibly indicating that the well-described influence of oxytocin on affiliative behavior in voles could also be of importance for humans.",
author = "Hasse Walum and Paul Lichtenstein and Neiderhiser, {Jenae Marie} and David Reiss and Ganiban, {Jody M.} and Spotts, {Erica L.} and Pedersen, {Nancy L.} and Henrik Anckarster and Henrik Larsson and Lars Westberg",
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Walum, H, Lichtenstein, P, Neiderhiser, JM, Reiss, D, Ganiban, JM, Spotts, EL, Pedersen, NL, Anckarster, H, Larsson, H & Westberg, L 2012, 'Variation in the oxytocin receptor gene is associated with pair-bonding and social behavior', Biological Psychiatry, vol. 71, no. 5, pp. 419-426. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.09.002

Variation in the oxytocin receptor gene is associated with pair-bonding and social behavior. / Walum, Hasse; Lichtenstein, Paul; Neiderhiser, Jenae Marie; Reiss, David; Ganiban, Jody M.; Spotts, Erica L.; Pedersen, Nancy L.; Anckarster, Henrik; Larsson, Henrik; Westberg, Lars.

In: Biological Psychiatry, Vol. 71, No. 5, 01.03.2012, p. 419-426.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Variation in the oxytocin receptor gene is associated with pair-bonding and social behavior

AU - Walum, Hasse

AU - Lichtenstein, Paul

AU - Neiderhiser, Jenae Marie

AU - Reiss, David

AU - Ganiban, Jody M.

AU - Spotts, Erica L.

AU - Pedersen, Nancy L.

AU - Anckarster, Henrik

AU - Larsson, Henrik

AU - Westberg, Lars

PY - 2012/3/1

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N2 - Background: In specific vole and primate species the neuropeptide oxytocin plays a central role in the regulation of pair-bonding behavior. Here we investigate the extent to which genetic variants in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) are associated with pair-bonding and related social behaviors in humans. Methods: We first genotyped twelve single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the TOSS (Twin and Offspring Study in Sweden) (n = 2309) and the TCHAD (Swedish Twin Study of Child and Adolescent Development) (n = 1240), comprising measures of self-reported pair-bonding behavior. In the TOSS sample we further investigated one of the SNPs for measures of marital status and quality. Moreover, in the TCHAD sample we explored the longitudinal relationship between precursors of pair-bonding during childhood and subsequent behavior in romantic relationships. Finally, in the TCHAD study and in the Child and Adolescent Twin Study of Sweden (CATSS) (n = 1771), the association between the same SNP and childhood behaviors was investigated. Results: One SNP (rs7632287) in OXTR was associated with traits reflecting pair-bonding in women in the TOSS and TCHAD samples. In girls the rs7632287 SNP was further associated with childhood social problems, which longitudinally predicted pair-bonding behavior in the TCHAD sample. This association was replicated in the CATSS sample in which an association between the same SNP and social interaction deficit symptoms from the autism spectrum was detected. Conclusion: These results suggest an association between variation in OXTR and human pair-bonding and other social behaviors, possibly indicating that the well-described influence of oxytocin on affiliative behavior in voles could also be of importance for humans.

AB - Background: In specific vole and primate species the neuropeptide oxytocin plays a central role in the regulation of pair-bonding behavior. Here we investigate the extent to which genetic variants in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) are associated with pair-bonding and related social behaviors in humans. Methods: We first genotyped twelve single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the TOSS (Twin and Offspring Study in Sweden) (n = 2309) and the TCHAD (Swedish Twin Study of Child and Adolescent Development) (n = 1240), comprising measures of self-reported pair-bonding behavior. In the TOSS sample we further investigated one of the SNPs for measures of marital status and quality. Moreover, in the TCHAD sample we explored the longitudinal relationship between precursors of pair-bonding during childhood and subsequent behavior in romantic relationships. Finally, in the TCHAD study and in the Child and Adolescent Twin Study of Sweden (CATSS) (n = 1771), the association between the same SNP and childhood behaviors was investigated. Results: One SNP (rs7632287) in OXTR was associated with traits reflecting pair-bonding in women in the TOSS and TCHAD samples. In girls the rs7632287 SNP was further associated with childhood social problems, which longitudinally predicted pair-bonding behavior in the TCHAD sample. This association was replicated in the CATSS sample in which an association between the same SNP and social interaction deficit symptoms from the autism spectrum was detected. Conclusion: These results suggest an association between variation in OXTR and human pair-bonding and other social behaviors, possibly indicating that the well-described influence of oxytocin on affiliative behavior in voles could also be of importance for humans.

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