Molecule of the Week

Oxytocin

February 20, 2012

Oxytocin is a polypeptide secreted by the posterior pituitary gland of mammals. It has several hormonal functions, including contraction of the uterus during labor, lactation stimulation, and possibly orgasm. H. H. Dale discovered ocytocin’s biological properties in 1906; V. du Vigneaud received the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1955 for isolating and synthesizing it. Synthetic oxytocin is sold under the trade names Pitocin and Syntocinon (and as a generic drug) for inducing labor.

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