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Staff List

Professor WASHIZUKA Shinsuke
Associate Professor SASAYAMA Daimei
Senior Assistant Professor TAKAHASHI Tohru


E-mail : seishin(at)
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Summary of Activity

Psychiatric challenges we face are changing with times repeatedly. We strive to research basic and clinical examinations with broad interests on mind of human. Our researches spread over all life stage.
1)    Genetics for bipolar disorder
2)    Estrogen receptor   in the central nervous system
3)    Catataonia including presenile and senile depression and psychosis
4)    Neuroimaging for the old with depression or dementia
5)    Asperger's syndrome

Research Projects

■Bipolar disorder
Our research is also towards understanding the etiology and pathogenesis of the bipolar disorder. Since mitochondrial dysfunction has been suggested in bipolar disorder, NDUFV2 at 18p11, encoding a subunit of the complex I, NADH ubiquinone oxidoreductase, is a candidate gene for this disorder. We previously reported that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the upstream region of NDUFV2 were associated with bipolar disorder. Of those, one SNP was found to alter the promoter activity. We also revealed the decreased expression of NDUFV2 in lymphoblastoid cell lines from Japanese patients with bipolar I disorder. These findings indicate the role of NDUFV2 as a genetic risk factor of bipolar disorder, and NDUFV2 might be a candidate biomarker of this disorder. Further study is now underway.

■Estrogen receptor   (ER ) in the central nervous system
We are one of a few research groups that study on the estrogen receptor   (ER ) in the central nervous system. It has been classically well-known and accepted that estrogen affects the psychiatric features. Despite of this clear relationship between input and output, for many years, no direct evidence for the existence of ER in the brain areas related to psychiatric disorders could be found. After the discovery of ER  in 1996, immunohistochemical studies in the early years of the 21st century, localized ER  in the brain. Now we know that ER  is abundantly expressed in specific areas of the brain that are very important for mood, cognition and behavior. These areas include the hippocampus, amygdala and raphe nucleus. There is increasing hope that ER  might be a novel target for the treatment of psychiatric disorders. As the brain changes its functions with age, so might the expression of ER  in neurons. We are especially interested in ER  expression and its functions during early developmental period and also in the late period of life long after menopause. Our goal is to accumulate certain and reliable evidence of the ER  functions in the brain that can be used for the developing of a novel pharmaceuticals, whose target is ER , for the treatment of psychiatric disorders.

Catatonia is a psychiatric syndrome conceptualized and named by the German clinician Karl Ludwig Kahlbaum. This syndrome is characterized by a number of psychological and behavioral symptoms and exhibits diverse clinical manifestations. Catatonia is really the object of attention in the field of psychiatry. However, changes and modifications in its concept through time have caused confusions with regard to diagnosis and treatment for the syndrome. In such a situation, we are interested in the progressive clinical course of catatonia because information thereof would lead to better understanding and conceptualization of this syndrome. We are conducting a clinical study to explore it. In this study, we have seen about 60 elderly individuals with this syndrome presenting with a variety of clinical manifestations. Analyses of the collected data are now in progress. In the future, we plan to develop this study by accumulating more data by using a number of research methods including neuroimaging and biochemical approach.

Major Publications

1. Suzuki, H., Barros, R.P.A., Sugiyama, N., Krishnan, V., Yaden, B.C,, Kim, H-J, Warner, M., Gustafsson, J-A. (2013)  Involvement of estrogen receptor βin maintenance of serotonergic neurons of the dorsal raphe.  Molecular Psychiatry 18:674-680.

2. Kinoshita, K., Kinoshita, Y., Shimodera, S., Nishida, A., Inoue, K., Watanabe, N., Oshima, N., Akechi, T., Sasaki, T., Inoue, S., Furukawa, T.A., Okazaki, Y. (2012) Not only body weight perception but also body mass index is relevant to suicidal ideation and self-harming behavior in Japanese adolescents.  J Nerv Ment Dis 200:305-309.

3.  Kinoshita, Y., Kingdon, D., Kinoshita, K., Sarafudheen, S., Umadi, D., Dayson, D., Hansen, L., Rathod, S., Ibbotson, R.B., Turkington, D., Furukawa, T.A. (2012) A semi-structured clinical interview for psychosis sub-groups(SCIPS): development and psychometric properties.  Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 47: 563-580.

4.  Mutai, H., Furukawa, T., Araki, K., Misawa, K., Hanihara, T. (2012)   Factor associated with functional recovery and home discharge in stroke patients admitted to a convalescent rehabilitation ward.  Geriatr Gerontol Int 12: 215-222.

5.  Sasayama, D., Hori, H., Teraishi, T., Hattori, K., Ota, M., Matsuo, J., Kawamoto, Y., Kinoshita, Y., Amano, N., Kunugi, H. (2012)  More severe impairment of manual dexterity in bipolar disorder compared to unipolar major depression.  J Affect Disord  136: 1047-1052.

6.  Sasayama, D., Hori, H., Teraishi, T., Hattori, K., Ota, M., Matsuo, J., Kawamoto, Y., Kinoshita, Y., Amano, N., Kunugi, H. (2012)  Association of cognitive performance with interleukin-6 receptor Asp358Ala polymorphism in healthy adults.  J Neural Transm  119: 313-318.

7.  Kaneko, T., Kaneko, K., Matsushita, M., Kadoya, M., Ihara, N., Ryokawa, A., Ogihara, T., Inuzuka, S., Ueda, H.(2012)  New visual rating system for medial temporal lobe atrophy: a simple diagnostic tool for routine examinations. Psychogeriatrics  12: 88-92.

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