(Medical Xpress)—Australian researchers have found a key to treating chronic abdominal pain may lie in a hormone that induces labour and encourages social bonding.
The researchers, led by The University of Queensland's Professor Paul Alewood from and the University of Adelaide's Dr Stuart Brierley, have developed a version of thehormone oxytocin to treat chronic abdominal pain associated with conditions such asirritable bowel syndrome.
Oxytocin is known as 'the love drug' for its ability to enhance social interactions including maternal behaviour, partnership and bonding.
Professor Alewood, from UQ's Institute for Molecular Bioscience, said the molecule they had developed – a version of oxytocin with improved stability – showed significant potential in alleviating abdominal pain.
"It can potentially survive in the digestive tract until it reaches the gut," he said.
"This molecule acts on oxytocin nerve receptors in the bowel, which display increased sensitivity in conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome."/.../