Molecular mediators of social reward, by Anand Gururajan

Autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are neurodevelopmental psychopathologies which mainly affect the very young in our society.  Current therapeutic strategies are mostly ineffective or have side-effect profiles which make their use in children problematic.  However, one molecule which has shown promise for the treatment of social dysfunction associated with these disorders is the endogenous neuropeptide oxytocin and this is consistent with evidence in support of its role as the ‘social peptide’.  However, another molecule which also influences social behaviour and has shown preclinical potential is the endogenous cannabinoid known as anandamide (AEA).  Against this background, the research group led by Daniele Piomelli investigated interactions between the endocannabinoid system and oxytocin in the context of social reward. AEA as a molecular mediator of social reward Social interaction is an inherently…

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