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Points to Oxytocin

Researchers have tied dysregulation of the hormone oxytocin to hypersexual disorder, New Scientist reports.

An Uppsala University-led team examined genome-wide methylation patterns within blood samples from 60 people with hypersexual disorder and 33 controls. Hypersexual disorder is an impulse control disorder that incudes compulsivity and sexual desire dysregulation, the researchers say, noting that it was proposed for inclusion in DSM-V.

As they report in the journal Epigenetics, Uppsala's Adrian Boström and his colleagues uncovered two differentially methylated regions within the samples from individuals with hypersexual disorder. Methylation levels at one of those regions was inversely associated with miR4456 expression levels, which, according to gene target prediction and pathway analyses, is thought to affect the oxytocin signaling pathway. Oxytocin has been implicated in pair-bonding behavior in some species.

"Further research will be needed to investigate the role of microRNA-4456 and oxytocin in hypersexual disorder, but our results suggest it could be worthwhile to examine the benefits of drug and psychotherapy to reduce the activity of oxytocin," senior author Jussi Jokinen from Umeå University says in a statement.