Are COVID-19 gastrointestinal symptoms due to oxytocin dysfunction?


Gastrointestinal Tract




Lin L, Jiang X, Zhang Z, et al. Gastrointestinal symptoms of 95 cases with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Gut 2020;69(6):997–1001. Available from:

Chen N, Zhou M, Dong X, et al. Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of 99 cases of 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan, China: a descriptive study. Lancet 2020;395(10223):507–13. Available from:

Holshue ML, DeBolt C, Lindquist S, et al. First case of 2019 novel coronavirus in the United States. N Engl J Med 2020;382(10):929–36. Available from:

Xiao F, Tang M, Zheng X, Liu Y, Li X, Shan H. Evidence for gastrointestinal infection of SARS-CoV-2. Gastroenterology 2020;158(6):1831-1833.e3. Available from:

Wan Y, Shang J, Sun S, et al. Molecular mechanism for antibody-dependent enhancement of coronavirus entry. J Virol 2020;94(5). Available from:

Liang W, Feng Z, Rao S, et al. Diarrhoea may be underestimated: a missing link in 2019 novel coronavirus. Gut 2020 Jun;69(6):1141–3. Available from:

Zhang H, Kang Z, Gong H, et al. Digestive system is a potential route of COVID-19: an analysis of single-cell coexpression pattern of key proteins in viral entry process. Gut 2020;69(6):1010-1018

Hoffmann M, Kleine-Weber H, Schroeder S, et al. SARS-CoV-2 cell entry depends on ACE2 and TMPRSS2 and is blocked by a clinically proven protease inhibitor. Cell 2020;181(2):271-280.e8. Available from:

Dale HH. On some physiological actions of ergot. J Physiol 1906;34(3):163–206. Available from:

Carter CS, Kenkel WM, MacLean EL, et al. Is Oxytocin “Nature’s Medicine”? Pharmacol Rev 2020;72(4):829–61. Available from:

Hurlemann R. Behavioral pharmacology of neuropeptides: oxytocin. 1st ed. New York, NY: Springer Berlin Heidelberg; 2017.

Elabd S, Sabry I. Two birds with one stone: possible dual-role of oxytocin in the treatment of diabetes and osteoporosis. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne) 2015;6:121. Available from:

Jankowski M, Broderick TL, Gutkowska J. The role of oxytocin in cardiovascular protection. Front Psychol 2020;11:2139. Available from:

Liu H, Gruber CW, Alewood PF, Möller A, Muttenthaler M. The oxytocin receptor signalling system and breast cancer: a critical review. Oncogene 2020;39(37):5917–5932. Available from:

Lerman B, Harricharran T, Ogunwobi OO. Oxytocin and cancer: An emerging link. World J Clin Oncol 2018;9(5):74–82. Available from:

Li T, Wang P, Wang SC, Wang Y-F. Approaches mediating oxytocin regulation of the immune system. Front Immunol 2017;7:693. Available from:

Diep P-T, Buemann B, Uvnäs-Moberg K. Oxytocin, a possible treatment for COVID-19? Everything to gain, nothing to lose. Clin Neuropsychiatry 2020;17(3):1. Available from:

Mussa BM, Srivastava A, Verberne AJM. COVID-19 and neurological impairment: hypothalamic circuits and beyond. Viruses 2021;13(3):498. Available from:

Pascual-Goñi E, Fortea J, Martínez-Domeño A, et al. COVID-19-associated ophthalmoparesis and hypothalamic involvement. Neurol -Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 2020;7(5):e823. Available from:

Diep P-T. Is there an underlying link between COVID-19, ACE2, oxytocin and vitamin D? Med Hypotheses 2020;110360. Available from:

Liu Y, Conboy I. Unexpected evolutionarily conserved rapid effects of viral infection on oxytocin receptor and TGF-β/pSmad3. Skelet Muscle 2017;7(1):7. Available from:

Monstein H-J, Grahn N, Truedsson M, Ohlsson B. Oxytocin and oxytocin-receptor mRNA expression in the human gastrointestinal tract: a polymerase chain reaction study. Regul Pept 2004;119(1–2):39–44. Available from:

Welch MG, Margolis KG, Li Z, Gershon MD. Oxytocin regulates gastrointestinal motility, inflammation, macromolecular permeability, and mucosal maintenance in mice. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 2014;307(8):G848–62. Available from:

You DM, Johnson MD. Cytomegalovirus infection and the gastrointestinal tract. Curr Gastroenterol Rep 2012;14(4):334–42. Available from:

Moss P. “The ancient and the new”: is there an interaction between cytomegalovirus and SARS-CoV-2 infection? Immun Ageing 2020;17(1):14, Available from:

Mokry RL, Schumacher ML, Hogg N, Terhune SS. Nitric oxide circumvents virus-mediated metabolic regulation during human cytomegalovirus infection. mBio 2020;11(6): e02630-20. Available from:

Drutman SB, Mansouri D, Mahdaviani SA, et al. Fatal cytomegalovirus infection in an adult with inherited NOS2 deficiency. N Engl J Med 2020;382(5):437–45. Available from:

Thibonnier M, Conarty DM, Preston JA, Plesnicher CL, Dweik RA, Erzurum SC. Human vascular endothelial cells express oxytocin receptors. Endocrinology 1999;140(3):1301–9. Available from:

Söderberg-Nauclér C. Does reactivation of cytomegalovirus contribute to severe COVID-19 disease? Immun Ageing 2021;18(1):12. Available from:

Wang SC, Wang Y-F. Cardiovascular protective properties of oxytocin against COVID-19. Life Sci 2021;270:119130. Available from:

Diep P-T. Oxytocin may be superior to gliptins as a potential treatment for diabetic COVID-19 patients. SciMedicine J. 2021 Jan 16;2:106–7. Available from:

Ueda T, Yokoyama Y, Irahara M, Aono T. Influence of psychological stress on suckling-induced pulsatile oxytocin release. Obstet Gynecol 1994;84(2):259–62

Baskaran C, Plessow F, Silva L, et al. Oxytocin secretion is pulsatile in men and is related to social-emotional functioning. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2017;85:28–34. Available from:

Phaneuf S, Rodriguez Linares B, TambyRaja R, MacKenzie I, Lopez Bernal A. Loss of myometrial oxytocin receptors during oxytocin-induced and oxytocin-augmented labour. Reproduction 2000;120(1):91–7. Available from:

Jayaram N, Varambally S, Behere RV, et al. Effect of yoga therapy on plasma oxytocin and facial emotion recognition deficits in patients of schizophrenia. Indian J Psychiatry 2013;55(Suppl 3):S409-413. Available from:

Carmichael MS, Humbert R, Dixen J, Palmisano G, Greenleaf W, Davidson JM. Plasma oxytocin increases in the human sexual response. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1987;64(1):27–31. Available from:

Morhenn V, Beavin LE, Zak PJ. Massage increases oxytocin and reduces adrenocorticotropin hormone in humans. Altern Ther Health Med 2012;18(6):11–8.

de Jong TR, Menon R, Bludau A, et al. Salivary oxytocin concentrations in response to running, sexual self-stimulation, breastfeeding and the TSST: The Regensburg Oxytocin Challenge (ROC) study. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2015;62:381–8. Available from:

Antoni FA, Chadio SE. Essential role of magnesium in oxytocin-receptor affinity and ligand specificity. Biochem J 1989;257(2):611–4. Available from:

Sheldrick EL, Flint APF. Post-translational processing of oxytocin-neurophysin prohormone in the ovine corpus luteum: activity of peptidyl glycine α-amidating mono-oxygenase and concentrations of its cofactor, ascorbic acid. J Endocrinol 1989;122(1):313–22. Available from:

Patrick RP, Ames BN. Vitamin D hormone regulates serotonin synthesis. Part 1: relevance for autism. FASEB J 2014;28(6):2398–413. Available from:

Poutahidis T, Kearney SM, Levkovich T, Microbial symbionts accelerate wound healing via the neuropeptide hormone oxytocin. PLoS ONE 2013;8(10):e78898. Available from: