Oxytocin neuron Cre-driver mice

RIKEN BRC August 2022
Mouse of the Month
Oxytocin neuron Cre-driver mice

C57BL/6-Oxt<tm1.1(Cre)Ksak> (RBRC11316)

Fig.A and B

A. Genomic structure of mouse oxytocin (Oxt) gene (top line) and Oxt-iCre knock-in (KI) allele (bottom line). In the Oxt-iCre KI mouse (C57BL/6-Oxttm1.1(Cre)Ksak), a self-processing sequence furin-2A in front of the improved Cre (iCre) recombinase is inserted at the end of the OXT protein coding sequences. (Frt sequence used in the construction process remains behind.)
B. Immunohistochemical staining image of the paraventricular nucleus of hypothalamus in Oxt-iCre mice. The immuno-positive signals of anti-OXT (green) and anti-Cre (red) antibodies nearly merge, suggesting that Cre is specifically expressed in oxytocin-producing neurons. Scale: 100 μm. 3v indicates the third ventricle.


Oxytocin (OXT) is a neuropeptide produced in hypothalamus. OXT neurons project their axons to the posterior pituitary lobes to release OXT peripherally into the blood circulation as a peptide hormone. At the same time, OXT neurons innervate several brain regions, where they release OXT as a neuropeptide. Therefore, OXT is known to be involved in regulation of not only peripheral functions such as uterine contractions and lactation, but also central functions such as social, aggressive, fear, and maternal behavior.
Oxt-iCre KI mice (RBRC11316) express iCre recombinase under the control of endogenous Oxt gene promoter. In fact, the depositor (Dr. Furuichi) and his colleagues carried out mating experiments with Oxt-iCre KI mice and Caps2 (Ca2+-dependent activator protein for secretion 2) gene floxed mice (C57BL/6-Cadps2<tm1.1Ksak>; RBRC11315). As a result of analysis, they reported that CAPS2, a regulator of exocytosis of dense-core vesicles containing neuropeptides, peptide hormones, and amine neurotransmitters, function in OXT release, thereby being correlated with social behavior regulation.
OXT is a remarkable peptide hormone in terms of both peripheral and central functions. We hope that Oxt-iCre KI mice will be used to elucidate mechanisms of various physiological phenomena and to develop treatments for social behavior disorders.


Depositor : Teiichi Furuichi, Ph.D.
Tokyo University of Science
Developer : Kenji Sakimura, Ph.D.
Niigata University
Strain name : C57BL/6-Oxt <tm1.1(Cre)Ksak> (Oxt-iCre KI)
RBRC No. : RBRC11316
Reference : [1] Fujima S, Yamaga R, Minami H, Mizuno S, Shinoda Y, Sadakata T, Abe M, Sakimura K, Sano Y, Furuichi T.
CAPS2 Deficiency Impairs the Release of the Social Peptide Oxytocin, as Well as Oxytocin-Associated Social Behavior.
J Neurosci. 2021 May 19;41(20):4524-4535.


August 2022
Saori Mizuno, Ph.D.
Contact: Experimental Animal Division, RIKEN BioResource Research Center (animal.brc@riken.jp)
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