A Systematic Review and Quantitative Meta-Analysis of Oxytocin's Effects on Feeding

Monica Leslie, Paulo Silva, Yannis Paloyelis, James Blevins, Janet Treasure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)
126 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Oxytocin’s anorexigenic effects have been widely documented and accepted; however, no paper has yet used the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines to compile previous findings in a single systematic review and quantitative meta-analysis. The current paper aimed to identify published and unpublished studies examining the effects of oxytocin on energy intake in animals and humans, and the factors that moderate this effect.
Methods: Web of Science, Pub Med, and Ovid were searched for published and unpublished studies reporting the effects of oxytocin on energy intake in wild-type animals and in humans, when administered in the absence of other active drugs or surgery.
Results: 2049 articles were identified through the original systematic literature search, from which 54 articles were identified as relevant for inclusion in this review. An additional 3 relevant articles were identified in a later update of the literature search. Overall, a single-dose of oxytocin was found to reduce feeding in animals. Despite several individual studies which found that this effect persists to the end of the third week of chronic administration in rodent models, overall, this anorexigenic effect did not hold in the meta-analyses testing the effects of chronic administration. There was no overall effect of oxytocin on energy intake in humans, although a trend was identified for oxytocin to reduce consumption of solid foods.
Conclusions: Oxytocin reduces energy intake when administered as a single dose. Oxytocin can inhibit feeding over two- to three-week periods in rodent models. These effects typically do not persist beyond the third week of treatment. The anorexigenic effect of oxytocin is moderated by pregnant status, dose, method of administration, and diet composition.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12584
JournalJournal of Neuroendocrinology
Issue number8
Early online date15 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


  • Energy Intake
  • feeding


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