Shigehiro Nakajima, MD, PhD
Professor of Pharmacology
Dr. Nakajima's laboratory focuses on the mechanisms involved in the excitation of brain neurons by slow-acting transmitters such as neurotensin and
dopamine. The research addresses the signaling pathways initiated by neurotransmitters that influence ion channel activity, leading to slow excitation of neurons. We are
interested in two types of ion channels which are the principal determinants of excitability, a type of potassium channels (G protein-coupled inward-rectifier K+ channels), and
the other TRPC (transient receptor potential canonical) channels. The investigators work on primary cultured neurons from specific nuclei of the rat brain, such as the nucleus
basalis of Meynert (the main cholinergic neurons of the brain, related to Alzheimer's disease), and the substantia nigra and the ventral tegmental area (dopamine containing
neurons, related to Parkinson's disease and psychiatric disorders). The laboratory uses electro-physiological and the molecular biological approaches to address these questions.
1853 W. Polk St.
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