Oral Physiology

  • Related Key Words:
  • oral physiology
  • feeding behavior
  • emesis
  • neuroscience
  • taste sensation

Our research aim is to clarify the significance of oral function in homeostatic mechanisms of the body. We are studying about brain function of the regulation of feeding, vomiting, taste sensation, and learning and memory, from the point of a view of neuroscience as follows:

1) Electrophysiology of central nervous system (CNS)
We analyze the ion channels, transmitters, chemosensitivities, and morphological properties of CNS neurons using electrophysiological methods such as extra- and intra-cellular recordings, and a patch-clamp recording in rat brain slice preparation. Some works focus on the mechanisms of learning and memory for taste sensation.

2) Behavioral study for food intake and vomiting
Behavioral analysis of changes in the conditioned taste aversion learning, food and fluid intake, emotion, and related-vital signs before and after the administration of drugs and chemicals.

3) Immunohistochemical approach for the brain function

We analyze c-Fos expression in the CNS to identify the activated brain areas and visualize the excited neurons.

4) Central processing mechanism of taste
We investigate the neural circuits involved in the transmission of taste information, and the integration mechanism between taste sensation and eating behavior modification.

5) Neural mechanisms of learning and memory of taste
We try to elucidate the central nervous system related to the acquisition and retrieval of taste aversion learning using experimental animals. We focus on the links between the mechanisms underlining the behavioral changes (from like to dislike) related to taste experiences and the expression of anxiety and fear.