Catalyst Awardee

Project Description

Elucidating the Mechanism of Action of Antidepressants by Generation and Sharing of Whole-brain Neurotransmitter Atlas

Yukki Sugiura, Ph.D. | Keio University; Eiji Sugiyama, Ph.D. | University of Shizuoka
Competition Sponsor: Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development
Awardee Year: 2020

The mechanism of antidepressants is still not clear despite the growing number of patients with psychiatry diseases. Such a knowledge gap made patients suffering from ineffective medicine as well as unnecessary antidepressant side effects. The monoamine brain atlas we generate (i.e., whole-brain monoamine concentration maps) and antidepressant accumulation maps will fill the gap for the following contributions;
(i) Comparison of monoamine concentration maps of healthy control and depression model animal brains identifies brain circuits that cause depression.
(ii) It is possible to clarify in which brain nuclei antidepressants is accumulated.
(iii) Most importantly, the obtained chemical image dataset will be shared as a chemical brain atlas to academia and pharmaceutical companies researchers.

By opening the atlas to a wide range of researchers, I expect that the brain regions where antidepressants actually work will be revealed and functionally verified. As an ultimate goal, I’ll provide valuable brain chemical atlases (including various types of psychotropic drugs) which accelerate the development of antidepressants, and further optimize the administration method (figure shows the research concept).

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View this project poster, first displayed at the 2021 Global Innovator Summit.

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