Pharmacology

Prof. Norimitsu Morioka

【Research Keyword】
Chronic pain, depression, neuropathic pain, neuropsychiatric disorders, microglia, astrocytes, central nervous system

【Recent highlights】
1.We have found that the expression of connexin43 is decreased in spinal astrocytes under neuropathic pain state, and this response contributes to the decrease of nociceptive threshold.
2.We have found that the expression of HMGB1 is increased in injured sciatic nerves under neuropathic pain state, and perineural treatment with anti-HMGB1 antibody ameliorates established mechanical hypersensitivity.

Profiles of Faculty and Research Scholars

【Education】
 The purpose of studying pharmacology is to understand the action of drugs in the body, and the mechanism of drugs to diseases. We primarily offer lectures and practices to understand not only drug’s actions but also their connection to diseases. In these educational programs, we provide professional knowledge and skill which are essential to be pharmacists or scientists for drug development.

【Reseach】
 Central nervous system mainly consists of neurons and glial cells such as microglia and astrocytes. Dysfunction of not only neurons but also glial cells might be involved in induction of various diseases. Our research topics are to understand roles of glial cells in some neurological disorders, including chronic pain and depression. Especially, we investigate four points described below.
 1.The roles of connexin43 in neuropathic pain
 2.The roles of high mobility group box-1 in neuropathic pain and neuropsychiatric disorders
 3.The roles of clock genes in neuropathic pain and neuropsychiatric disorders
 4.The identification of glial factors related to the pathophysiology of neuropathic pain and neuropsychiatric disorders

【Figure explanation】 Nociceptive transduction in spinal dorsal horn
Under chronic pain state, glial cells such as microglia and astrocytes are highly activated, and these responses are involved in induction and maintenance of nociceptive hypersensitivity.


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