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Arch Hellen Med, 31(1), January-February 2014, 7-22


The role of oxytocin, cortizol, homocysteine and cytokines in diabetes mellitus
and their association with psychological factors

K. Kontoangelos,1,3 C.C. Papageorgiou,1,3 A.E. Raptis,2 P. Tsiotra,2 E. Boutati,2
G.N. Papadimitriou,1 G. Dimitriadis,2 A.D. Rabavilas,3 S.A. Raptis2,4

1First Department of Psychiatry, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Medical School, "Eginition" Hospital, Athens,
2Second Department of Internal Medicine, Propedeutic Research Institute and Diabetes Center, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Medical School, "Attikon" University Hospital, Athens,
3Mental Health Research Institute, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens,
4Hellenic National Center for Research, Prevention and Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus and its Complications (HNDC), Athens, Greece

The mutual interaction of diabetes mellitus (DM) and neuropsychological parameters has been supported, among others, by studies that focus on the neuropsychiatric treatment and care of patients with DM. Neuroendocrine and psychoimmunological parameters have been shown to be associated with both the psychological-psychopathological manifestations and the various aspects of DM. Oxytocin, for example, in addition to its involvement in the contraction of the myometrium during labor and the let-down of milk during lactation has recently been associated with critical aspects of emotion and behavior (e.g. self care, care for others, handling of aggression, etc.). In patients with Prader-Willi syndrome and hypogonadism, the reduced production of oxytocin is associated with the development of DM, and in studies on the administration of injectable oxytocin it was found that it raised the level of plasma insulin. Homocysteine, which has recently been the focus of both clinical practice and research, has been correlated with the development of coronary artery disease in patients with type 2 DM. Other studies have identified a causal relationship of homocysteine in depression and aggression. There is experimental and clinical documentation of a bilateral communication between the central nervous system (CNS) and various immune factors, including the cytokines, interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-12 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF), but also indications of their involvement in the onset and persistence of both neuropsychological disorders (depression, anxiety disorders) and DM. In addition, correlation has been demonstrated of lipid parameters both with DM and with neuropsychological disorders such as depressive syndrome and anxiety disorders.

Key words: Cytokines, Diabetes mellitus, Homocysteine, Oxytocin, Psychological factors.

© Archives of Hellenic Medicine