Physiology (Rehabilitation and Neuroscience)



Akira Mitani, Ph.D.

Physiology (Rehabilitation and Neuroscience)

Rehabilitation treatments enhance recovery of brain functions following many neurological disorders. The understanding of neural mechanisms underlying the functional recovery will lead to the development of effective rehabilitation strategies. Our aim is to understand the neural mechanisms providing substrata to underpin rehabilitation. We are pursuing our researches in the human brain and also in the animal brain. Such an approach requires us to join multidisciplinary forces. We welcome enthusiastic young people interested in neuro-rehabilitation sciences.

Research and Education

Human brain research

We utilize non-invasive neuroimaging techniques. Disorders of perception, motor control and cognition are common in many neurological disorders and various rehabilitation treatments are practiced for such deficits. We are revealing neural mechanisms of rehabilitation treatments corresponding to improved perception, motor control and cognition (mirror therapy, motor imagery, and so on) using MEG and fMRI.

Animal brain research

We utilize various techniques of electrophysiology, behavioral analysis, morphology, and neurochemistry depending on the purpose of experiments. We are studying mechanisms of brain functional recovery following physical and emotional disorders. The rat brain reorganization is examined in the remaining neuronal systems after an ischemic lesion within the motor cortex using intracortical stimulation and also in the limbic cortex during anxiety-related behaviors using wireless multi-unit recording, respectively.


We are also interested in education and training of young prospective researchers with multidisciplinary scope of rehabilitation and neuroscience. We have lectures and seminars for graduate school students.


photo_mitani3a: An MEG experiment: The subject views the mirror reflection of her right hand holding a pencil.

b: A fMRI experiment: The subject feels that a rubber hand is his own hand by brushing his hidden real hand.

c: Reaching training: A rat reaches for a food pellet on a box.

d: Wireless recording: A rat pauses on the open arm of the elevated plus maze. The inset shows multi-unit activity.

e: Laboratory alumni association.


1. Tominaga, W., Matsubayashi, J., Furuya, M., Matsuhashi, M., Mima, T., Fukuyama, H., Mitani, A. (2011) Asymmetric activation of the primary motor cortex during observation of a mirror reflection of a hand. PLoS ONE. 6: e28226.

2. Tominaga, W., Matsubayashi, J., Deguchi, Y., Minami, C., Kinai, T., Nakamura, M., Nagamine, T., Matsuhashi, M., Mima, T., Fukuyama, H., Mitani, A. (2009) A mirror reflection of a hand modulates stimulus-induced 20-Hz activity. Neuroimage. 46: 500-504.

3. Kinai, T., Matsubayashi, J., Minami, C., Tominaga, W., Nakamura, M., Nagamine, T., Matsuhashi, M., Mima, T., Fukuyama, H., Mitani, A. (2009) Modulation of stimulus-induced 20-Hz activity during lower extremity motor image. Neurosci Res. 64: 335-337.

4. Takasaki, C., Okada, R., Mitani, A., Fukaya, M., Yamasaki, M., Fujihara, Y., Shirakawa, T., Tanaka, K., Watanabe, M. (2008) Glutamate transporters regulate lesion-induced plasticity in the developing somatosensory cortex. J Neurosci. 28: 4995-5006.

5. Harada, T., Harada, C., Nakamura, K., Quah, H-M A., Okumura, A., Namekata, K., Saeki, T., Aihara, M., Yoshida, H., Mitani, A., Tanaka, K. (2007) The potential role of glutamate transporters in the pathogenesis of normal tension glaucoma. J Clin Invest. 117: 1763-1770.


Professor: Akira Mitani

Assistant Professor: Jun Matsubayashi

TEL: +81-75-751-3913

FAX: +81-75-751-3965

e-mail: mitani.akira.6z atmark