Structural Physiology (U Tokyo)  

We have revealed that our mind is shaped by motility of synaptic connections , and unravel the mysteries of our mind and mental disorders.

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How learning occurs and memory stored in our brain? In the cerebrum, excitatory synapses are made on tiny spiny protrusions of dendrite, called dendritic spines. We have extensively utilized microscopic investigation of cellular and molecular events, which allow labeling of potentiated synapses and optical manipulation of synapses and circuits. We have revealed that the dendritic spines show rapid enlargement in the hippocampus, neocortex, and basal ganglia when they get stronger. Then, we demonstrated that the enlargement underlies memory in vivo. Such dynamic spine motilities are the sites of endogenous neuromodulation, emotional responses, additive drugs, and therapeutic agents for mental disorders. Thus, neuronal circuits made by spines in the brain enable learning, memory, perception, emotion, and their impairments result in various mental disorders. We further clarify the nature of the spine motility, and making new optical, mechanical, molecular probes for a better understanding of learning and cognition and its impairments.


July 1, 2021

Our review article on spine dynamics has published Nature Reviews Neuroscience.

May 15, 2021

Ms. Yuki Sakata has joined our lab!

March 16, 2021

Tomoki Arima has joined as a graduate student.

March 2, 2021

Dr. Fumihiro Eto has joined our lab!


August 1, 2020

Ms. Akiko Abe and Chie Hujiname have joined our laboratory!

June 2, 2020

Dr. Kenta Nishitani has joined our laboratory!

Mar 26, 2020

Yagishita, Iino, Sawada reported a new relationship between dopamine D2 receptor and psychosis F1000 Recommendations

Sep 26, 2019

Jun Noguchi revealed in vivo structural plasticity of dendritic spines in the neocortex.

June 13, 2019

Hitoshi Okazaki reported smaller spines in a model mice of schizophrenia

April 12, 2019

Mona-Sada reported the causality of spine generation and anti-depressant effects of ketamine.

Nov 1, 2018

Kazuhiko Ishii reported the abnormal dynamics of dendritic spines in a mouse model of autism.