Oxytocin repairs damaged/old muscle in mice
BY kylee and kirsten

On the left is young mice muscle cells. In the middle is older mice damaged muscle cells. On the right is muscles that were injected with oxytocin. Oxytocin makes damaged/older muscle tissue heal as well as the young mice.

key points

1) Oxytocin is a naturally produced hormone. It's well known role is for social bonding or the "love hormone".

2) When oxytocin is injected into old mice their muscle capabilities matched those of much younger mice.

3) This experiment led to the thoughts that it could help heal injuries in the elderly. The findings provide that oxytocin may delay muscle atrophy in aging people.

4) A dose injected into the younger mice didn't change anything, that's how we know oxytocin isn't a muscle enhancer drug.

5) In the future, oxytocin could be a new therapy method but, before that's even an option there's a lot more research that needs to be done.


1) Young mice have at least three times as much oxytocin in their blood as old mice.

2) Oxytocin stimulates muscle stem cells to divide when muscle is damaged, so giving old mice oxytocin should wake up muscle stem cells and lead to better wound repair.

Summary of the article

It is proven that when injected to older mice, oxytocin restored muscle-regeneration capabilities to match the younger mice, but when injected into younger mice, oxytocin did not have an effect on them. Muscle stem cells contain oxytocin receptors, proteins on the cell’s surface that latch on to the hormone and then send a growth signal into the cell. The number of those receptors on stem cells declines with age, the researchers found, as do oxytocin levels in the blood. Researchers reasoned that giving old mice oxytocin should wake up muscle stem cells and lead to better wound repair. Could this work on people? Researchers don't yet know if oxytocin levels decline as people age, and if they do, what dose would be appropriate, when to give it, or what the long-term consequences of such supplementing might be. The hormone may be of most help to older people who are injured or need surgery.


1. True or false: oxytocin could be considered a muscle enhancing drug. - False

2. Why did giving injections of oxytocin to older mice restore their muscle-regeneration capabilities? - As mice get older, the amount of oxytocin their bodies produce decreases, so it was as if they're bodies were young again.

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