Behavioural medicineNeuroendocrine mechanisms of stress and social interaction: implications for mental disordersHeinrichs, Markus; Gaab, JensAuthor Information Institute of Psychology, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland Correspondence to Markus Heinrichs, PhD, and Jens Gaab, PhD, Institute of Psychology, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Zurich, Binzmuhlestrasse 14/Box 26, CH-8050 Zurich, Switzerland E-mail: [email protected] and [email protected] Current Opinion in Psychiatry: March 2007 - Volume 20 - Issue 2 - p 158-162 doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e3280146a13 Buy Metrics Abstract Purpose of review The purpose of the present review is to consider further evidence for the role of neuroendocrine mechanisms in mental disorders by focusing on recent trends and advances in the field of psychoneuroendocrinology. Recent findings Recent studies confirm the importance of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis for the development and course of mental disorders. Notably, the neuropeptide oxytocin has been shown to reduce the responsiveness of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis to social stress and to improve social approach behavior. A better understanding of the neuroendocrine mechanisms of action underlying normal behavior has recently been translated to studies investigating novel therapeutic approaches using hormone administration. Summary Neuroendocrine systems relevant to behavior clearly demonstrate their impact for the field of psychiatry. Further neuroendocrine research provides insight into the origins of mental disorders both from an etiological perspective and an interventional perspective. © 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.