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HOME Activities Psychiatry

1. Research Summary

The Department of Psychiatry conducts a wide range of research activities, from biological research on the origin and treatment of diseases to research directly linked to clinical practice such as diagnosis and treatment (e.g., epidemiological studies and psychoeducation), on psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, mood disorders, and developmental disorders.

2.Research Groups

  • Clinical Psychopharmacology Group
  • Molecular Genetics Group
  • Molecular Neurobiology Group
  • Imaging Physiology Group
  • Developmental Psychiatry Group
  • Psychoeducation, and Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy Group

3-1.Clinical Psychopharmacology Group

Research subjectsResearch subjects

Comprehensive pharmacogenomic research on adverse reactions to psychotropic agents

3-2.Molecular Genetics Group

Research subjects

Molecular genetic research on psychiatric disorders

3-3.Molecular Neurobiology Group

Research subjects

Molecular neurobiological research on schizophrenia

3-4.Imaging Physiology Group

Research subjects

Brain imaging of developmental disorders
Imaging and physiology in victims of large-scale disasters

3-5.Developmental Psychiatry Group

Research subjects

Large-scale epidemiological study of autism spectrum disorders in health check-ups at admission to elementary schools in Niigata City Prediction of medication responses of patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

3-6.Psychoeducation, and Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy Group

Research subjects

How psychoeducation for patients with acute schizophrenia should be conducted Clinical techniques based on developmental and dynamic viewpoints for treatment-refractory cases, including so-called gmodern depressionh and borderline personality disorder

4.Research Results

[Area] Psychiatry

[Research subject] Comprehensive pharmacological research on adverse reactions to psychotropic agents

[Description]
We investigate the effects of individual differences in pharmacodynamic factors such as various receptors and transporter proteins that are the sites of action of drugs, as well as in pharmacokinetic factors represented by drug-metabolizing enzymes regulating blood drug concentrations, on the clinical effects of and adverse reactions to antidepressants and antipsychotics using genome analysis.
Currently, samples are being collected and genetic information useful for the prediction of clinical effects and adverse reactions are being accumulated. We aim to establish personalized treatment appropriate for each individual in the future by conducting further investigations.
In addition, we collect samples for verifying the objective diagnosis of, and the effects of medications for, prodromal schizophrenia and simple schizophrenia.

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[Area] Psychiatry

[Research subject] Molecular genetic research on psychiatric disorders

[Description]
We conduct molecular genetic research with the aim of revealing the biological factors associated with psychiatric disorders and are contributing to the development of new therapies based on these biological factors.
We performed linkage analysis of a multiplex schizophrenia family for the first time in Japan and identified 3q and 4q as candidate regions (Figure) (Am J Med Genet B, 2007). We also participated in a multicenter study and contributed to its achievements such as the identification of disease-susceptible genes (Mol Psychiatry, 2012). We are proceeding with analyses of autism spectrum disorders and panic disorder as well and have produced many promising results (Psychiatry Res, 2012).

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[Area] Psychiatry

[Research subject] Molecular neurobiological research on schizophrenia

[Description]
We conduct collaborative research with other departments, including the Department of Molecular Neurobiology, Brain Research Institute, with the aim of elucidating the pathology of schizophrenia.
Based on the cytokine hypothesis for schizophrenia (Figure) (Psychiatry Clin Neurosci, 2010), we identified abnormal cytokine expressions in postmortem tissues and peripheral blood from patients (Mol Psychiatry, 2000) and created an animal model employing neonatal cytokine administration (Neurosci Res, 2004). We established a diagnostic classification prediction model based on transcriptome analysis of peripheral blood and demonstrated that the schizophrenia patient group and the control group can be differentiated with high sensitivity and specificity using this model (Schizophr Res, 2010).

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[Area] Psychiatry

[Research subject] Brain imaging of developmental disorders

[Description]
We conduct brain imaging research with the aim of establishing biological diagnostic methods for developmental disorders.
We have thus far observed an amygdala neurodevelopmental disorder in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and reported that the extent of this neurodevelopmental disorder increases with an increase in the severity of ASD (Figure) (Biol Psychiatry, 2007). In addition, we presented a significant association between a neurodevelopmental disorder of the medial prefrontal cortex and serotonin transporter polymorphism in ASD (Psychiatry Res; Neuroimaging, 2010a). In addition, we reported that thalamic volume was decreased in ASD and that the left-side dominance of prefrontal cortical activity observed in healthy individuals was decreased in ASD (Psychiatry Res; Neuroimaging, 2010b, 2012).
We also analyze visual perception in ASD using magnetoencephalography.

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