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 - Basic Medicine (Core Departments) - Basic Neuroscience
Morphological Brain Science
The primary focus of our research has been on the neuronal circuitry and synaptic organization of the mammalian brain, and the ultimate goal is to elucidate the neuronal design and mechanism that produces the ‘mind’. To this end, various pathways in the brain and spinal cord are analysed morphologically with light and electron microscopes by means of tracer techniques, immunocytochemistry, in situ hybridization histochemistry, and intracellular recording/staining method. Recently, the efforts are strongly focused on (1) the development and application of the molecular-biological tools for completely visualizing the neuronal processes, such as the viral vectors and gene-modified animals. (2) By using the molecular-biological tools which enable us to visualize information input sites (dendrites and cell body), we are studying the local circuit of the cerebral cortex and striatum. (3) Further, using the viral vectors that can visualize axon fibers very effectively, we are also examining the whole axonal arborization of single neurons in the thalamus and basal ganglia.

  Takeshi Kaneko, M.D., Ph.D.
Research and Education
(1) Development of molecular-biological tools for the morphological study of the brain: We are now trying to develop many genetic tools for the analysis of neuronal circuit. The viral vectors expressing plasma membrane-targeted GFP has been developed to visualize neurons in a Golgi-stain-like manner. Furthermore, graduate students are producing genetically altered animals that express dendritic membrane-targeted GFP selectively in a particular subset of neurons. (2) Study of local circuitry in the cerebral cortex and striatum: Local neuronal circuitry is considered to be the basis of the higher functions executed by the brain. A graduate student is studying the cortical local connection of a pyramidal neuron to the corticothalamic neuron group, combining the intracellular staining technique with the retrograde dendrite-labeling method of the viral vector. Another graduate student is examining the local connection of a cortical interneuron to the corticospinal projection neuron group, using the whole cell recording/labeling technique in the genetically modified animals in which cortical interneurons are labeled with GFP. Furthermore, after generation of transgenic animals in which the dendrites of a particular set of cortical and striatal interneurons are labeled in a Golgi-stain-like fashion, we are now analyzing excitatory and inhibitory inputs to the particular set of interneurons on electron and confocal laser-scanning fluorescent microscopes. (3) Single neuron labeling study of thalamic and basal ganglia neurons: Using the viral vector that produces the plasma membrane-targeted GFP, we have recently reported the complete axonal arborization of thalamocortical and nigral dopaminergic neurons at the single neuron level. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows are now examining other thalamocortical and thalamostriatal neurons in many thalamic subnuclei, and also studying projection neurons in the basal ganglia nuclei, such as the striatum, globus pallidus, subthalamic nucleus and substantia nigra.

Morphological Brain Science
Professor Takeshi Kaneko

Furuta Takahiro

Hioki Hiroyuki, Kuramoto Eriko
TEL +81-75-753-4331
FAX +81-75-753-4340
Recent Publications
1. Tanaka T, Kaneko T, Aoyagi T, Recurrent infomax generates cell assemblies, neuronal avalanches, and simple cell-like selectivity. Neural Computation 21:1038-67, 2009 .
2. Kuramoto E, Furuta T, Nakamura KC, Unzai T, Hioki H, Kaneko T. Two types of thalamocortical projections from the motor thalamic nuclei of the rat: A single neuron tracing study using viral vectors. Cerebral Cortex 19: 2065-77, 2009 .
3. Matsuda W, Furuta T, Nakamura KC, Hioki H, Fujiyama F, Arai R, Kaneko T. Single nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons form widely spread and highly dense axonal arborizations in the neostriatum. The Journal of Neuroscience, 29: 444-53, 2009.
4. Furuta T, Kaneko T, Deschênes M. Septal neurons in barrel cortex derive their receptive field input from the lemniscal pathway. The Journal of Neuroscience 29: 4089-95, 2009.
5. Ohira K, Furuta T, Hioki H, Nakamura KC, Kuramoto E, Tanaka Y, Funatsu N, Shimizu K, Oishi T, Hayashi M, Miyakawa T, Kaneko T, Nakamura S. Ischemia-induced neurogenesis of neocortical layer 1 progenitor cells. Nature Neuroscience, 13: 173-9, 2010.
6. Furuta T, Urbain N, Kaneko T, Deschênes M. Corticofugal control of vibrissa-sensitive neurons in the interpolaris nucleus of the trigeminal complex. The Journal of Neuroscience 30: 1832-38, 2010.