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Year : 2023  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 24-31

Constant romantic feelings and experiences can protect against neurodegeneration: Potential role of oxytocin-induced nerve growth factor/protein kinase B/Cyclic response element-binding protein and nerve growth factor/protein kinase B/Phospholipase C-Gamma signaling pathways

1 Chronic Respiratory Diseases Research Center, National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (NRITLD), Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2 2E Science, Robbio (PV), Italy

Correspondence Address:
Majid Motaghinejad
Masih Daneshvari Hospital, Darabad Avenue, Shahid Bahonar Roundabout, Tehran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/bbrj.bbrj_28_23

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Neurodegeneration – defined as a progressive cell loss in specific neuronal populations – has devastating clinical consequences with significant societal and economic implications. Although effective preventive measures are still lacking, features of positive mental health and emotional resilience have the potential to reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs). Romantic experiences – which are characterized by intense emotional intimacy – have complex biological underpinnings including an increased production and release of oxytocin and nerve growth factor (NGF). Because both oxytocin and NGF can protect against neurodegeneration, we propose our hypothesis that being constantly engaged in romantic feelings and experiences may delay or even prevent the onset of NDDs. We also propose that this could occur at the molecular level through the NGF/protein kinase B (Akt)/cyclic-adenosine monophosphate response element-binding protein and NGF/Akt/phospholipase C-gamma (PLC-γ) signaling pathways. In this article, we describe this conceptual framework and delineate potential avenues for future research in the field.

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