Plasma Oxytocin Concentration in Pre- A nd Postmenopausal Women: Its Relationship with Obesity, Body Composition and Metabolic Variables

Sabrina Maestrini, Chiara Mele, Stefania Mai, Roberta Vietti, Annamaria Di Blasio, Luigi Castello, Daniela Surico, Gianluca Aimaretti, Massimo Scacchi, Paolo Marzullo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To investigate the relationship between oxytocin, menopause and obesity. Methods: A cross-sectional analysis on 56 obese (OB; 28 premenopausal) and 53 normal-weight women (NW; 27 premenopausal) was performed by measurement of oxytocin, leptin, adiponectin, gonadotropins, sex steroids, glucose, and lipid homeostasis as well as DXA assessment of fat mass (%FM) and fat-free mass (FFM). Results: Women from NW and OB groups were comparable for age but differed in anthropometric measures. In our cohorts, menopause was not associated with changes in gluco-lipid homeostasis and %FM, while FFM was lower in postmenopausal women from both study groups (p < 0.05). In each group, leptin was unaltered, and adiponectin only marginally changed across menopause, while oxytocin levels were lower in post-than in premenopausal women (NW: P < 0.05; OB: P < 0.005), and lower in OB than NW women, either when assessed as whole groups or if stratified by menopause (p < 0.001). In correlation analysis, inverse associations related oxytocin to menopause, obesity, and adiposity-related measures. BMI (p < 0.0001) and menopause independently predicted oxytocin levels (p < 0.001), but their interaction was null (p = 0.5). Conclusions: Obesity and menopause are independent negative predictors of plasma oxytocin. Longitudinal studies should clarify the role of oxytocin on weight modifications experienced around and after menopause.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-439
Number of pages11
JournalObesity Facts
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2018



  • Body composition
  • Menopause
  • Obesity
  • Oxytocin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Physiology (medical)

Cite this