Differential correlations between plasma oxytocin and social cognitive capacity and bias in schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia Research

PubMedID: 23628601

Walss-Bass C, Fernandes JM, Roberts DL, Service H, Velligan D. Differential correlations between plasma oxytocin and social cognitive capacity and bias in schizophrenia. Schizophr Res. 2013;147(2-3):387-92.
Social cognitive impairment is related to poor social functioning in schizophrenia. This impairment includes both deficits in emotion perception and theory of mind (ToM), and cognitive biases including attributional bias and jumping to conclusions. Oxytocin (OXT) is a hormone that has been implicated in human social behavior, and that has also been associated with regulation of inflammation. In a cross-sectional study involving 60 patients with schizophrenia and 20 healthy controls, we examined associations between OXT and social cognitive capacity and bias. Secondary analyses examined associations between OXT and inflammation. We found significant correlations between OXT and social cognitive bias in the control group and in patients with delusions, but not in patients without delusions. Social cognitive capacity only correlated significantly with OXT in patients with delusions. A correlation between OXT and inflammation was observed only in patients without delusions. Findings suggest that OXT may be implicated in social cognition both in controls and in patients with delusions, but that this association may be blunted in patients without delusions. Inflammation appears to be related to OXT rather independently of social cognition. Future longitudinal and intervention studies with OXT are needed to clarify causality in the identified associations.