HealthDay News — For infants with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), oxytocin (OXT) administration is associated with improvement in feeding and social skills, according to a study published online January 18 in Pediatrics.

Maïthé Tauber, MD, from the Hôpital des Enfants in Toulouse, France, and colleagues conducted a phase 2 dose escalating study of a seven-day course of intranasal OXT administration in 18 infants with PWS under 6 months old. Infants received 4 IU of OXT every other day, daily, or twice daily. 

The researchers found that there were no reports of adverse events, and no dose effect. At baseline, all infants had abnormal sucking, as measured by the Neonatal Oral-Motor Scale; sucking was normalized in 88 percent after treatment. There were significant decreases in the scores of Neonatal Oral-Motor Scale, from 16 to 9 (P<0.001), and in videofluoroscopy of swallowing, from 18 to 12.5 (P<0.001). There were significant improvements in Clinical Global Impression scale scores, social withdrawal behavior, and mother-infant interactions. A significant increase was seen in acylated ghrelin and connectivity of the right superior orbitofrontal network on functional magnetic resonance imaging, which was associated with sucking and behavior changes.

“OXT is well tolerated in infants with PWS and improves feeding and social skills,” the authors write. “These results open perspectives for early treatment in neurodevelopment diseases with feeding problems.”

Two authors obtained a patent based on the results of their studies regarding administration of oxytocin in Magel2 KO mouse and adults with Prader-Willi syndrome.

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