Translational psychiatric research focusing on microglia – Does microglial modulation prevent psychosis?

Presentation First Author: 
Takahiro Kato

Neurons and synapses have long been the dominant focus of neuroscience, thus the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders including schizophrenia has come to be understood within the neuronal doctrine. Recently, glial functions have been gradually investigated, and increasing evidence has suggested that glial cells including astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and microglia perform important roles in various brain functions. Digging up the glial functions and further understanding of these crucial cells, and the interaction between neurons and glia may shed new light on clarifying many unknown aspects including the mind-brain gap, and conscious-unconscious relationships, and the deeper underlying mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, depression and autism. In this symposium, I briefly review the current situation of glial research in neuropsychiatric field, especially focusing on microglia, and present a novel approach of translational research with a multi-dimensional model; combining various experiments such as psychopharmacological animal studies, in vitro & in vivo neuron-glia studies, a variety of human brain imaging investigations, and psychometric assessments, with glia-modulating drugs such as minocycline. Our preliminary data suggest that microglia may play a crucial role in psychological development and later various psychopathologies, and microglial modulation may be a possible preventive approach for psychiatric disorders.

Conference Name: 
Presentation Date: 
January, 2015
Additional Authors: 
Shigenobu Kanba
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