Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute and collaborative project have discovered that the benefits of stimulating the brain with direct current come from its effects on astrocytes — not neurons — in the mouse brain. Published in Nature Communications, the work shows that applying direct current to the head releases synchronized waves of calcium from astrocytes that can reduce depressive symptoms and lead to a general increase in neural plasticity — the ability of neuronal connections to change when we try to learn or form memories.
In cerebellar Purkinje cells (PCs), dendritic territories by climbing and parallel fiber (PF) innervations are segregated. Here, we show that the segregation of territories occurs as a result of elimination of PF synapses from the proximal dendrites, and that PF synapse elimination is controlled by the type 1 metabotropic glutamate receptor to protein kinase Cg signaling pathway in PCs.
Press Release Mirror Neurons in a New World Monkey, Common Marmoset
The research team including researchers from NCNP and RIKEN BSI found neurons in the ventrolateral frontal cortex with characteristic “mirror” properties quite similar to those in macaques. This finding suggests that mirror neurons occur in a common ancestor of New and Old World monkeys and its common properties are preserved during the course of primate evolution.
Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have developed a new system for imaging the activity of individual neurons in the marmoset brain. Published in Cell Reports, the study shows how amplifying genetically encoded fluorescent signals with TET-inducible gene expression allows hundreds of individual neurons in the primate brain to be imaged simultaneously over a period of several months.
It remains unclear how readiness for Ca2+ -dependent exocytosis depends on varying degrees of SNARE complex assembly. We demonstrated the SNARE assembly using ﬂuorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) of Forster resonance energy transfer (FRET) between three pairs of neuronal SNAREs in presynaptic boutons and pancreatic beta cells in the islets of Langerhans.
The research team including researchers from RIKEN BSI and NIPS established a new method to visualize dendritic spines in the living marmoset brain. The method that utilizes two-photon microscopy in combination with virus vectors to enhance the expression of fluorescent signals makes it possible to study neural circuits in primate brains.
Press Release Real x-ray vision: see-through brains ready for study
Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have developed a new technique for creating transparent tissue that can be used to illuminate 3D brain anatomy at very high resolutions. Published in Nature Neuroscience, the work showcases the new technology and its practical importance in clinical science by showing how it has given new insights into Alzheimer’s disease plaques.
The research team led by Prof. Okazawa (Tokyo Medical and Dental University) developed a new technique for observation
of autophagy in the brain in vivo, and revealed unexpected roles of autophagy in Alzheimer's disease
including the increase of intracellular Amyloid beta by starvation and circadian rhythm of neuronal autophagy activity.
Brains, Genes, and Primates
Brain/MINDS: brain-mapping project in Japan- Philosophical Transactions B
Hideyuki Okano, Atsushi Miyawaki, Kiyoto Kasai