(redirected from Pitocin)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.


oxytocin (ŏksĭtōˈsĭn), hormone released from the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland that facilitates uterine contractions and the milk-ejection reflex. The structure of oxytocin, a cyclic peptide consisting of nine amino acids, was determined in 1953 and in the same year it was synthesized in the laboratory. Both oxytocin and antidiuretic hormone are biosynthesized in the hypothalamus of the brain and travel down neuronal axons to the posterior pituitary, where they accumulate prior to release. Stimuli that elicit the release of oxytocin include childbirth, suckling, and coitus; the uterine contractions that result may facilitate either childbirth or the ascent of spermatozoa through the fallopian tubes. Oxytocin may also play a role in the initiation of labor. The milk-ejection response occurs only in females immediately after childbirth. The role of oxytocin in males is unknown.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(also pitocin), a hormone that is produced by the neurosecretory cells of the anterior nuclei of the hypothalamus. Oxytocin is transported over nerve fibers from the hypothalamus to the posterior lobe of the hypophysis, where it accumulates and is then released into the blood. It elicits contractions of the smooth muscles of the uterus and, to a lesser degree, the muscles of the urinary bladder and intestine. It also stimulates the flow of milk from the mammary glands. Oxytocin is secreted in response to stimulation of the nipple during lactation and distention of the uterus in the late stages of pregnancy. Adrenaline suppresses the secretion of oxytocin, and progesterone counteracts oxytocin’s effect on the uterine muscles.

Oxytocin is an octapeptide Whose four amino-acid groups are bound in a ring by cystine, which is also linked to a tripeptide:

Oxytocin—which is structurally similar to the other hypophyseal hormone, vasopressin—was isolated in pure form from biological substances (1950) and produced synthetically (1954) by V. du Vigneaud and co-workers; this was the first synthesis of a biologically active protein. A less expensive, synthetic oxytocin is used in medicine.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


C43H66O12N12S2 A polypeptide hormone secreted by the neurohypophysis that stimulates contraction of the uterine muscles.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The efficiency is critical in busy pharmacies handling high volume products such as Adrenalin, Coly-Mycin M and Pitocin and the cost savings are significant, Hinchen added.
*** Percentages differ among facility types at p<.001, [dagger]Because of the large number of strata used in the analysis, the standard error estimates for the "other" subcategory are unstable; thus, only point estimates are shown for the three subcategories.[double dagger]Includes pitocin, medical methods and manual removal of retained products.[section]Specialists, general practitioners, residents and interns are considered physicians; nurses, midwives and health officers are midlevel providers.
Modern, hospital-based obstetrics is marked by a proclivity toward technology: 31 percent of births are now delivered by cesarean section, 22 percent involve labor-speeding medication such as pitocin, and 63 percent involve epidural analgesia.
Sekarieh gave the example of a drug named Pitocin which is used by pregnant women to strengthen the contraction of the uterus when the baby wants to come out.
It takes another week, and twelve hours of pitocin, but eventually he comes.
(37) Physicians often use Oxytocin, sold under the brand name Pitocin, to help "start or strengthen labor and to reduce bleeding after delivery." Oxytocin, MEDLINE PLUS MEDICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a682685.html (last visited Feb.
During this time pitocin was administered intermittently, and an internal hear monitor was put in place.
Active management also includes speeding up a woman's labor with the use of Pitocin in perhaps a majority of American hospital births today.
The initial vial of Pitocin (10[micro]g/ml OT) was combined with a 1 liter bag of saline and administered at an initial low rate of 10 ml/h in an effort to minimize potential side effects.
These initiatives include emphasizing better communication between obstetric nurses and physicians; discouraging or prohibiting labor inductions prior to 39 weeks (unless medically necessary); and curtailing the use of Pitocin, a synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin often used to induce or speed up labor.