The hormones-behaviour is critical to our understanding of stress and emotion disorders. Oxytocin (intranasal) lowers stress response and improves trust however, such findings warrant investigation across different populations (e.g., Asian & Australian). Further, females over-representation in emotion disorder, or sex-specific effects of oxytocin on stress physiology, and cognitive-affect processing remains unclear. Indo-Australian comparison of these effects provides insight in the universality of hormone-behaviour link in the context of cognitive affective processing in emotion disorder.
Aims: To test effects of oxytocin on stress, and reward-related decision making in trust and uncertainty in emotion disorder (depression & anxiety)
Study 1: Placebo-controlled double-blind study of intranasal oxytocin on stress (salivary cortisol), cognitive [trust game], uncertainty [gambling task] and affect response [IAPS valence] in anxiety/depression patients.
Study 2: Sex-differences in placebo-controlled double-blind study of intranasal oxytocin (see protocol, Heinrichs et al., 2003) on stress (salivary cortisol), cognitive [trust (two-person game), uncertainty (gambling task)] and affect response (IAPS valence) in normal healthy participants.
Methodology Sample: Power analysis suggested sample size of 176 for effect size of .50 at .05 level (Study 1: treatment group n = 88; Study 2: Males =88)
Material: Iowa Gambling Task, international affect database (IAPS), and Trust Game (Gneezy, 2005) Intranasal oxytocin/placebo spray: As per the protocol of Heinrichs et al. (2003).
Tests: Saliva sample for cortisol (stress), serotonin-dopamine balance, testosterone-estradiol balance using immunoassays.
Procedure: Participants provide informed consent, demographics, followed by salivary sample (T1), random assignment to treatment group (Nasal spray of oxytocin/placebo-saline), nasal spray protocol, Tasks (Order: IGT, IAPS, Trust Game), followed by salivary sample (T2).
Analysis: Between-group comparison of cortisol levels (ug/dl), net scores in uncertainty trials of IGT, and binary choices in Trust game: (a) treatment groups (b) healthy males and females.
- Expected results: It is expected that effects of oxytocin in emotion disorder will help identify therapeutic usage of oxytocin, examine sex-specificity of these effects, and thereby improve our understanding of sex-specific vulnerability due to hormone-behavior link across two distinct sociocultural environments (i.e., India and Australia).
- Grants targeted: Wellcome DBT India Alliance Journal papers: 2, impact factor > 2.
- Clinical trial: CTRI for effect of intranasal oxytocin on emotion disorder patients.