Remodeling of neuronal circuits takes place during development, learning, and recovery after brain damage. The main goal of our research is to understand the regulation of neural circuits remodeling. In detail, we are focusing on glial contribution to the function of neuronal circuits. Glia is a key factor to regulate neural circuits through their physiological function. We are trying to determine their contribution to the neural circuits in physiological and pathological conditions by visualizing fine structure, controlling activity, and recording specific synaptic transmissions in living animals using multi-photon microscopy. We are also focusing on experience-dependent remodeling in sensory neural circuits during development. We use behavioral analysis, in vivo imaging, and in vitro electrophysiology to clarify the correlation between the development of behavioral patterns and synaptic plasticity as its basis.
The progress of technology has brought about a breakthrough in life science. We recently revealed neural activity-dependent pH changes in the living brain with single-cell level resolution using a CMOS image sensor which we had newly developed. The propagation of pH change from the hippocampus before electrical epileptic activity was detected. We started the collaboration with clinics and company to develop the new tools to predict the epileptic seizures in the human patients.
Fig1. CMOS-based ion image sensor revealed neuronal activity-dependent pH changes in the living brain
Fig2. Pain circuit reorganization with activated astrocytes as a therapeutic approach