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Pharmacology

  • Seitaro Ohkuma, M.D., Ph.D., Professor

Emphasis and outline of education

The aim of teaching pharmacology is to provide students with a basic knowledge of drugs, including pharmacokinetics, drug actions and adverse effects, necessary for clinicians so they can accurately treat patients suffering from various types of diseases.

In the fourth year of study, lectures are given on pharmacology, the mechanisms of drug actions, pharmacokinetics of drugs under healthy and pathological conditions, adverse effects of drugs and mechanisms of their emergence, and drug interactions. Clinical pharmacology lectures are also given concomitant with lectures on basic pharmacology.

Main Areas and Department Research

Mechanisms of the formation of drug dependence

Several drugs of abuse produce increased Ca2+ entry into neurons via high voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs), and this event may cause alterations in neuronal functions participating in the development of drug dependence. Changes in intracellular Ca2+ concentration play an essential role in regulating various functions such as learning and memory. We are investigating the pathophysiological roles of VGCCs in the development of drug dependence, learning and memory.

Regulatory mechanisms for up-regulation of β-adrenerdic receptors

Chronic administration of β-adrenergic receptor blockers induces increased β-adrenergic receptor (β-AR) density, referred to as up-regulation of β-ARs, which is considered to be an adaptive response to the continuous blockade of β-ARs. Although adaptive responses of β-ARs and other neurotransmitter receptors classified as G protein-coupled receptors to their agonists have been extensively investigated, the mechanisms of β-AR up-regulation remain to be precisely delineated. Our investigations are directed towards clarifying the mechanisms of β-AR up-regulation.