King's College London

Research portal

Peripheral oxytocin and vasopressin: Biomarkers of psychiatric disorders? A comprehensive systematic review and preliminary meta-analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Grazia Rutigliano, Matteo Rocchetti, Yannis Paloyelis, James Gilleen, Alberto Sardella, Marco Cappucciati, Erika Palombini, Liliana Dell'Osso, Edgardo Caverzasi, Pierluigi Politi, Philip McGuire, Paolo Fusar-Poli

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-220
Number of pages14
JournalPsychiatry Research
Early online date5 May 2016
Accepted/In press29 Apr 2016
E-pub ahead of print5 May 2016
Published30 Jul 2016


King's Authors


A large array of studies have investigated peripheral oxytocin (OT) and vasopressin (ADH) as potential biomarkers of psychiatric disorders, with highly conflicting and heterogenous findings. We searched Web of KnowledgeSM and Scopus® for English original articles investigating OT and/or ADH levels in different biological fluids (plasma/serum, saliva, urine and cerebrospinal fluid) across several psychiatric disorders. Sixty-four studies were included. We conducted 19 preliminary meta-analyses addressing OT alterations in plasma/serum, saliva, urine and cerebrospinal fluid of 7 psychiatric disorders and ADH alterations in plasma/serum, saliva, urine and cerebrospinal fluid of 6 psychiatric disorders compared to controls. Hedge's g was used as effect size measure, together with heterogeneity analyses, test of publication biases and quality control. None of them (except serum OT in anorexia nervosa) revealed significant differences. There is no convincing evidence that peripheral ADH or OT might be reliable biomarkers in psychiatric disorders. However, the lack of significant results was associated with high methodological heterogeneity, low quality of the studies, small sample size, and scarce reliability of the methods used in previous studies, which need to be validated and standardized.

Download statistics

No data available

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454