Kenji F Tanaka

New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York City, New York, United States

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Publications (44)284.49 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Serotonin is a neuromodulator that is involved extensively in behavioral, affective, and cognitive functions in the brain. Previous recording studies of the midbrain dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) revealed that the activation of putative serotonin neurons correlates with the levels of behavioral arousal [1], rhythmic motor outputs [2], salient sensory stimuli [3-6], reward, and conditioned cues [5-8]. The classic theory on serotonin states that it opposes dopamine and inhibits behaviors when aversive events are predicted [9-14]. However, the therapeutic effects of serotonin signal-enhancing medications have been difficult to reconcile with this theory [15, 16]. In contrast, a more recent theory states that serotonin facilitates long-term optimal behaviors and suppresses impulsive behaviors [17-21]. To test these theories, we developed optogenetic mice that selectively express channelrhodopsin in serotonin neurons and tested how the activation of serotonergic neurons in the DRN affects animal behavior during a delayed reward task. The activation of serotonin neurons reduced the premature cessation of waiting for conditioned cues and food rewards. In reward omission trials, serotonin neuron stimulation prolonged the time animals spent waiting. This effect was observed specifically when the animal was engaged in deciding whether to keep waiting and was not due to motor inhibition. Control experiments showed that the prolonged waiting times observed with optogenetic stimulation were not due to behavioral inhibition or the reinforcing effects of serotonergic activation. These results show, for the first time, that the timed activation of serotonin neurons during waiting promotes animals' patience to wait for a delayed reward.
    Current biology : CB. 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Memory traces are believed to be ensembles of cells used to store memories. To visualize memory traces, we created a transgenic line that allows for the comparison between cells activated during encoding and expression of a memory. Mice re-exposed to a fear-inducing context froze more and had a greater percentage of reactivated cells in the dentate gyrus (DG) and CA3 than mice exposed to a novel context. Over time, these differences disappeared, in keeping with the observation that memories become generalized. Optogenetically silencing DG or CA3 cells that were recruited during encoding of a fear-inducing context prevented expression of the corresponding memory. Mice with reduced neurogenesis displayed less contextual memory and less reactivation in CA3 but, surprisingly, normal reactivation in the DG. These studies suggest that distinct memory traces are located in the DG and in CA3 but that the strength of the memory is related to reactivation in CA3. VIDEO ABSTRACT:
    Neuron 07/2014; 83(1):189-201. · 15.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Astrocytes generate local calcium (Ca(2+)) signals that are thought to regulate their functions. Visualization of these signals in the intact brain requires an imaging method with high spatiotemporal resolution. Here, we describe such a method using transgenic mice expressing the ultrasensitive ratiometric Ca(2+) indicator yellow Cameleon-Nano 50 (YC-Nano50) in astrocytes. In these mice, we detected a unique pattern of Ca(2+) signals. These occur spontaneously, predominantly in astrocytic fine processes, but not the cell body. Upon sensory stimulation, astrocytes initially responded with Ca(2+) signals at fine processes, which then propagated to the cell body. These observations suggest that astrocytic fine processes function as a high-sensitivity detector of neuronal activities. Thus, the method provides a useful tool for studying the activity of astrocytes in brain physiology and pathology.
    Cell reports. 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Whether increased serotonin (5-HT) release in the forebrain attenuates or enhances anxiety has been controversial for over 25 yr. Although there is considerable indirect evidence, there is no direct evidence that indicates a relationship between acute 5-HT release and anxiety. In particular, there is no known method that can reversibly, selectively, and temporally control serotonergic activity. To address this issue, we generated transgenic animals to manipulate the firing rates of central 5-HT neurons by optogenetic methods. Activation of serotonergic neurons in the median raphe nucleus was correlated to enhanced anxiety-like behaviour in mice, whereas activation of serotonergic neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus had no effect on anxiety-like behaviour. These results indicate that an acute increase in 5-HT release from the median raphe nucleus enhances anxiety.
    The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 05/2014; · 5.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) is a neuropeptide produced in neurons sparsely distributed in the lateral hypothalamic area. Recent studies have reported that MCH neurons are active during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, but their physiological role in the regulation of sleep/wakefulness is not fully understood. To determine the physiological role of MCH neurons, newly developed transgenic mouse strains that enable manipulation of the activity and fate of MCH neurons in vivo were generated using the recently developed knockin-mediated enhanced gene expression by improved tetracycline-controlled gene induction system. The activity of these cells was controlled by optogenetics by expressing channelrhodopsin2 (E123T/T159C) or archaerhodopsin-T in MCH neurons. Acute optogenetic activation of MCH neurons at 10 Hz induced transitions from non-REM (NREM) to REM sleep and increased REM sleep time in conjunction with decreased NREM sleep. Activation of MCH neurons while mice were in NREM sleep induced REM sleep, but activation during wakefulness was ineffective. Acute optogenetic silencing of MCH neurons using archaerhodopsin-T had no effect on any vigilance states. Temporally controlled ablation of MCH neurons by cell-specific expression of diphtheria toxin A increased wakefulness and decreased NREM sleep duration without affecting REM sleep. Together, these results indicate that acute activation of MCH neurons is sufficient, but not necessary, to trigger the transition from NREM to REM sleep and that MCH neurons also play a role in the initiation and maintenance of NREM sleep.
    Journal of Neuroscience 05/2014; 34(20):6896-909. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Plastic changes in white matter have received considerable attention in relation to normal cognitive function and learning. Oligodendrocytes and myelin, which constitute the white matter in the central nervous system, can respond to neuronal activity with prolonged depolarization of membrane potential and/or an increase in the intracellular Ca2+ concentration. Depolarization of oligodendrocytes increases the conduction velocity of an action potential along axons myelinated by the depolarized oligodendrocytes, indicating that white matter shows functional plasticity, as well as structural plasticity. However, the properties and mechanism of oligodendrocyte depolarization-induced functional plastic changes in white matter are largely unknown. Here, we investigated the functional plasticity of white matter in the hippocampus using mice with oligodendrocytes expressing channelrhodopsin-2. Using extracellular recordings of compound action potentials at the alveus of the hippocampus, we demonstrated that light-evoked depolarization of oligodendrocytes induced early- and late-onset facilitation of axonal conduction that was dependent on the magnitude of oligodendrocyte depolarization; the former lasted for approximately 10 min, whereas the latter continued for up to 3 h. Using whole-cell recordings from CA1 pyramidal cells and recordings of antidromic action potentials, we found that the early-onset short-lasting component included the synchronization of action potentials. Moreover, pharmacological analysis demonstrated that the activation of Ba2+-sensitive K+ channels was involved in early- and late-onset facilitation, whereas 4-aminopyridine-sensitive K+ channels were only involved in the early-onset component. These results demonstrate that oligodendrocyte depolarization induces short- and long-term functional plastic changes in the white matter of the hippocampus and plays active roles in brain functions. GLIA 2014
    Glia 04/2014; · 5.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The brain demands high-energy supply and obstruction of blood flow causes rapid deterioration of the healthiness of brain cells. Two major events occur upon ischemia: acidosis and liberation of excess glutamate, which leads to excitotoxicity. However, cellular source of glutamate and its release mechanism upon ischemia remained unknown. Here we show a causal relationship between glial acidosis and neuronal excitotoxicity. As the major cation that flows through channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) is proton, this could be regarded as an optogenetic tool for instant intracellular acidification. Optical activation of ChR2 expressed in glial cells led to glial acidification and to release of glutamate. On the other hand, glial alkalization via optogenetic activation of a proton pump, archaerhodopsin (ArchT), led to cessation of glutamate release and to the relief of ischemic brain damage in vivo. Our results suggest that controlling glial pH may be an effective therapeutic strategy for intervention of ischemic brain damage.
    Neuron 01/2014; 81(2):314-20. · 15.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Astrocytes regulate the activity of neighboring neurons by releasing chemical transmitters, including ATP. Adenosine levels in the cerebrospinal fluid of mice that express a mutant human glial fibrillary acidic protein in astrocytes are slightly elevated compared to those in wild type mice and this might result from the observed increased release by mutant astrocytes of ATP, which can be used to produce adenosine. Using hippocampal slices from these mutant mice, we examined whether the increased endogenous adenosine levels in the hippocampus modulate the reversal of long-term potentiation (LTP), i.e. depotentiation (DP), in CA1 neurons. In hippocampal slices from wild type mice, a stable LTP was induced by tetanic stimulation consisting of 100 pulses at 100 Hz, and this was reversed by a train of low frequency stimulation (LFS) of 500 pulses at 1 Hz applied 30 min later. This induction of DP was inhibited by application of either 100 nM adenosine or 0.5 nM N6-cyclopentyladenosine, an adenosine A1 receptor agonist, during LFS, indicating that the increase in extracellular adenosine levels attenuated DP induction by acting on adenosine A1 receptors. In contrast, although a stable LTP was also induced in hippocampal slices from mutant mice, induction of DP was inhibited, but DP could be induced by application, during LFS, of 50 nM 8-cyclopentyltheophylline, an adenosine A1 receptor antagonist. These results suggest that a small increase in extracellular adenosine levels resulting from increased ATP release by astrocytes results in attenuation of DP in hippocampal CA1 neurons in the mutant mice.
    Brain Research. 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Orexin/hypocretin neurons have a crucial role in the regulation of sleep and wakefulness. Recent optogenetic studies revealed that the activation or inhibition of orexin neuronal activity affects the probability of sleep/wakefulness transition in the acute phase. To expand our understanding of how orexin neurons maintain wakefulness, we generated new transgenic mice in which orexin neurons expressed archaerhodopsin from Halorubrum strain TP009 (ArchT), a green light-driven neuronal silencer, using the tet-off system (orexin-tTA; TetO ArchT mice). Slice patch clamp recordings of ArchT-expressing orexin neurons demonstrated that long-lasting photic illumination was able to silence the activity of orexin neurons. We further confirmed that green light illumination for 1 hr in the dark period suppressed orexin neuronal activity in vivo using c-Fos expression. Continuous 1 hr silencing of orexin neurons in freely moving orexin-tTA; TetO ArchT mice during the night (the active period, 20:00-21:00) significantly increased total time spent in slow-wave sleep (SWS) and decreased total wake time. Additionally, photic inhibition increased sleep/wakefulness state transitions, which is also evident in animals lacking the prepro-orexin gene, orexin neurons, or functional orexin-2 receptors. However, continuous 1 hr photic illumination produced little effect on sleep/wakefulness states during the day (the inactive period, 12:00-13:00). These results suggest that orexin neuronal activity plays a crucial role in the maintenance of wakefulness especially in the active phase in mice.
    Behavioural brain research 05/2013; · 3.22 Impact Factor
  • Kenji F Tanaka, Norio Takata, Masaru Mimura
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    ABSTRACT: Optogenetics, the use of channelrhodopsin: genetically-encodable light-activated proteins, allows the manipulation of specific neural circuit elements with millisecond precision. It has been 10 years since the discovery of channelrhodopsin, and optogenetics is now widely accepted as a powerful tool for addressing causal relationships between neural activity and behavior.
    Seishin shinkeigaku zasshi = Psychiatria et neurologia Japonica 01/2013; 115(12):1211-5.
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    ABSTRACT: Serotonergic (5HT) neurons of the dorsal raphe nuclei receive excitatory input from hypothalamic orexin (hypocretin) neurons and reciprocally inhibit orexin neurons through the 5HT1A receptor. However, the physiological significance of this negative feedback circuit for sleep/wakefulness regulation is little understood. 5HT1A receptor expression level was specifically and reversibly controlled in the orexin neurons using the Tet-off system. The responsiveness of orexin neurons to 5HT in vitro and the sleep/wakefulness patterns were compared between 5HT1A-overexpressing and control mice. When the 5HT1A receptor was overexpressed in orexin neurons of Orexin-EGFP; orexin-tTA; TetO Htr1a mice, 5HT-induced inhibition of orexin neurons was prolonged. In the absence of doxycycline, Orexin-tTA; TetO Htr1a mice exhibited severe fragmentation of sleep/wakefulness during the first half of the dark period-the time of maximal activity in nocturnal rodents-without affecting sleep/wakefulness during the light period when sleep time is maximal. However, when the 5HT1A receptor in orexin neurons was reduced to basal expression levels in the presence of doxycycline, sleep/wakefulness patterns in Orexin-tTA; TetO Htr1a mice during the early active period were indistinguishable from those of littermate TetO Htr1a mice. These results strongly suggest that enhancement of inhibitory serotonergic input to orexin neurons caused fragmentation of wakefulness. In contrast, sleep/wakefulness architecture in the light period was unaffected by 5HT1A receptor overexpression in the orexin neurons. Inhibitory serotonergic input likely functions as negative feedback to orexin neurons in the early dark period and helps stabilize wakefulness bouts, thereby contributing to the diurnal rhythm of sleep and wakefulness. Tabuchi S; Tsunematsu T; Kilduff TS; Sugio S; Xu M; Tanaka KF; Takahashi S; Tominaga M; Yamanaka A. Influence of inhibitory serotonergic inputs to orexin/hypocretin neurons on the diurnal rhythm of sleep and wakefulness. SLEEP 2013;36(9):1391-1404.
    Sleep 01/2013; 36(9):1391-404. · 5.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dynamic activity of glia has repeatedly been demonstrated, but if such activity is independent from neuronal activity, glia would not have any role in the information processing in the brain or in the generation of animal behavior. Evidence for neurons communicating with glia is solid, but the signaling pathway leading back from glial-to-neuronal activity was often difficult to study. Here, we introduced a transgenic mouse line in which channelrhodopsin-2, a light-gated cation channel, was expressed in astrocytes. Selective photostimulation of these astrocytes in vivo triggered neuronal activation. Using slice preparations, we show that glial photostimulation leads to release of glutamate, which was sufficient to activate AMPA receptors on Purkinje cells and to induce long-term depression of parallel fiber-to-Purkinje cell synapses through activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors. In contrast to neuronal synaptic vesicular release, glial activation likely causes preferential activation of extrasynaptic receptors that appose glial membrane. Finally, we show that neuronal activation by glial stimulation can lead to perturbation of cerebellar modulated motor behavior. These findings demonstrate that glia can modulate the tone of neuronal activity and behavior. This animal model is expected to be a potentially powerful approach to study the role of glia in brain function.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2012; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In chronic demyelinating lesions of the central nervous system, insufficient generation of oligodendrocytes (OLs) is not due to a lack of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs), because the accumulation of OPCs and premyelinating OLs can be observed within these lesions. Here we sought to identify the basis for the failure of OLs to achieve terminal differentiation in chronic demyelinating lesions through the utilization of plp1-overexpressing (Plp( tg/-) ) mice. These mice are characterized by progressive demyelination in young adults and chronic demyelinating lesions at more mature stages. We show that neural stem cells, which are the precursors of OL-lineage cells, are present in the Plp( tg/-) mouse brain and that their multipotentiality and ability to self-renew are comparable to those of wild-type adults in culture. Lineage-tracing experiments using a transgenic mouse line, in which an inducible Cre recombinase is knocked in at the Olig2 locus, revealed that Olig2-lineage cells preferentially differentiated into OPCs and premyelinating OLs, but not into astrocytes, in the Plp( tg/-) mouse brain. These Olig2-lineage cells matured to express myelin basic protein but after that their processes degenerated in the chronic demyelinating lesions of the Plp( tg/-) brain. These results indicate that in chronic demyelinated lesions more OL-lineage cells are produced as part of the repair process, but their processes degenerate after maturation. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Neuroscience Research 11/2012; · 2.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Astrocytes, a major subtype of glia, interact with neurons as a supportive partner supplying energy sources and growth factors. Astrocytes regulate the activity of neighboring neurons by releasing chemical transmitters (gliotransmitters). However, the precise role of gilotransmitters in regulating neuronal activity is still under debate. Here, we report that a subtle enhancement in the release of one gliotransmitter, ATP, affects synaptic potentiation from an analysis of mice containing an astrocyte-selective (GFAP) mutation. We found that, relative to normal mice, weaker stimulation induced long-term potentiation (LTP) in mutant mice, indicating that the threshold to induce LTP was lowered in the mutant. While excitatory transmission was normal in the mutant, inhibitory GABAergic transmission was suppressed. We found that a low concentration of adenosine selectively attenuated inhibitory neuronal activity and lowered the threshold to induce LTP in wild type mice. In comparison, adenosine A(1) receptor antagonism reversed the lowered LTP threshold back to normal in the mutant mouse. We verified that adenosine levels in the cerebrospinal fluid of mutant mice were slightly elevated compared to wild type mice. This was apparently caused by an increase in ATP release from mutant astrocytes that could provide a source of augmented adenosine levels in the mutant. ATP is thought to suppress the excitability of neuronal circuits; however, a small increase in ATP release can result in a suppressed inhibitory tone and enhanced excitability of neuronal circuitry. These findings demonstrate that ATP released from astrocytes acts in a bidirectional fashion to regulate neuronal excitability depending on concentration. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Glia 09/2012; · 5.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The genetic heterogeneity of autism poses a major challenge for identifying mechanism-based treatments. A number of rare mutations are associated with autism, and it is unclear whether these result in common neuronal alterations. Monogenic syndromes, such as fragile X, include autism as one of their multifaceted symptoms and have revealed specific defects in synaptic plasticity. We discovered an unexpected convergence of synaptic pathophysiology in a nonsyndromic form of autism with those in fragile X syndrome. Neuroligin-3 knockout mice (a model for nonsyndromic autism) exhibited disrupted heterosynaptic competition and perturbed metabotropic glutamate receptor-dependent synaptic plasticity, a hallmark of fragile X. These phenotypes could be rescued by reexpression of neuroligin-3 in juvenile mice, highlighting the possibility of reverting neuronal circuit alterations in autism after the completion of development.
    Science 09/2012; 338(6103):128-32. · 31.20 Impact Factor
  • Amane Koizumi, Kenji F Tanaka, Akihiro Yamanaka
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    ABSTRACT: Melanopsin (OPN4) is a photosensitive pigment originally found in a subtype of retinal ganglion cells and is a 7-transmembrane G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR). Several previous reports showed that ectopic expression of OPN4 can be used as an optogenetic tool to control neural and cellular activities in various tissues. Compared with other optogenetic pigments, OPN4 is more sensitive to light, shows long-lasting activation, and can also control intracellular Ca(2+) dynamics. Here, we review how the ectopic expression of OPN4 enables the control of neural and cellular activities in vivo. In the retina, the ectopic expression of melanopsin in retinal ganglion cells successfully restored the vision of blind mice. It has also been reported that ectopic expression of melanopsin in orexin/hypocretin neurons enabled control of wakefulness in mice by blue light. In addition to neural activity, the ectopic expression of OPN4 has been reported to enable circuit control of the nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) to enhance blood-glucose homeostasis in mice. We discuss the possibility of optogenetic control of other systems through the ectopic expression of OPN4.
    Neuroscience Research 09/2012; · 2.20 Impact Factor
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    Kenji F Tanaka, Benjamin Adam Samuels, René Hen
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    ABSTRACT: Using in situ hybridization, we describe, for the first time, the profiles of expression of serotonin receptors (Htr/5-HTR) along the dorsal-ventral axis of mouse hippocampus. cRNA probes for most Htrs, excluding Htr6, were used. All hippocampal subregions and the entorhinal cortex cells providing input into the hippocampus were examined. The study shows that some, but not all, Htrs are expressed in the cells of the hippocampal circuitry. At both the subfield and the cell type levels, a somewhat overlapping pattern is observed. Four serotonin receptors, Htr1a, Htr2a, Htr2c and Htr7, display an expression pattern that changes along the dorsal-ventral axis of the hippocampus. Given the proposed functional differentiation of the hippocampus along its long axis, with the dorsal pole more involved in cognitive functions and the ventral pole more involved in mood and anxiety, our results suggest that serotonin receptors enriched in the ventral pole probably contribute to mood- and anxiety-related behaviours.
    Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 09/2012; 367(1601):2395-401. · 6.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Melanopsin (OPN4) is a photosensitive G-protein-coupled photopigment and its ectopic expression enables control of neural activity induced by blue light. Here we report that we successfully expressed OPN4 in hypothalamic orexin/hypocretin neurons of double-transgenic mice (orexin-tTA; Bitet-O human OPN4 [hOPN4]/mCherry mice). In the double-transgenic mice, hypothalamic orexin neurons selectively expressed hOPN4 as well as mCherry as a reporter. We conducted slice patch-clamp recordings on hOPN4/mCherry-expressing orexin neurons, which showed long-lasting activation initiated by blue light even after the light was switched off. Optical fiber-guided blue light stimulation in the hypothalamus successfully initiated the electroencephalography pattern that reflects long-lasting wakefulness in the mice in vivo. Taken together, the results indicate that ectopic expression of hOPN4 in orexin neurons enables long-lasting activation of orexin neurons by blue light to control sleep/wakefulness of the mice.
    Neuroscience Research 07/2012; · 2.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Optogenetics has been enthusiastically pursued in recent neuroscience research, and the causal relationship between neural activity and behavior is becoming ever more accessible. Here, we established knockin-mediated enhanced gene expression by improved tetracycline-controlled gene induction (KENGE-tet) and succeeded in generating transgenic mice expressing a highly light-sensitive channelrhodopsin-2 mutant at levels sufficient to drive the activities of multiple cell types. This method requires two lines of mice: one that controls the pattern of expression and another that determines the protein to be produced. The generation of new lines of either type readily expands the repertoire to choose from. In addition to neurons, we were able to manipulate the activity of nonexcitable glial cells in vivo. This shows that our system is applicable not only to neuroscience but also to any biomedical study that requires understanding of how the activity of a selected population of cells propagates through the intricate organic systems.
    Cell Reports 07/2012; 2(2):397-406. · 7.21 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

858 Citations
284.49 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2014
    • New York State Psychiatric Institute
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2012–2014
    • Keio University
      • Department of Neuropsychiatry
      Edo, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 2006–2013
    • The Graduate University for Advanced Studies
      • • Division of Cell Signaling
      • • Division of Neurobiology and Bioinformatics
      Миура, Kanagawa, Japan
  • 2008–2012
    • Columbia University
      • • Department of Neuroscience
      • • Department of Genetics and Development
      New York City, NY, United States
  • 2007–2011
    • Dalian Medical University
      Lü-ta-shih, Liaoning, China