Kyushu University Academic Staff Educational and Research Activities Database
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Kinichi Nakashima Last modified date:2018.06.05

Academic Degree
Field of Specialization
Neuroscience, Stem cell biology, Epigenetics
Outline Activities
Research for verifying mechanisms of neural cell differentiation and their application to regenerative medicine.
Research Interests
  • Research for verifying mechanisms of neural cell differentiation and their application to regenerative medicine
    keyword : Neural Stem Cells, Differentiation, Epigenetics, direct reprogramming
Academic Activities
1. Atsuhiko Sakai, Taito Matsuda, Hiroyoshi Doi, Yukiko Nagaishi, Kiyoko Kato, Kinichi Nakashima, Ectopic neurogenesis induced by prenatal antiepileptic drug exposure augments seizure susceptibility in adult mice, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America,, 115, 16, 4270-4275, 2018.04, Epilepsy is a neurological disorder often associated with seizure that affects ∼0.7% of pregnant women. During pregnancy, most epileptic patients are prescribed antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) such as valproic acid (VPA) to control seizure activity. Here, we show that prenatal exposure to VPA in mice increases seizure susceptibility in adult offspring through mislocalization of newborn neurons in the hippocampus. We confirmed that neurons newly generated from neural stem/progenitor cells (NS/PCs) are integrated into the granular cell layer in the adult hippocampus; however, prenatal VPA treatment altered the expression in NS/PCs of genes associated with cell migration, including CXC motif chemokine receptor 4 (Cxcr4), consequently increasing the ectopic localization of newborn neurons in the hilus. We also found that voluntary exercise in a running wheel suppressed this ectopic neurogenesis and countered the enhanced seizure susceptibility caused by prenatal VPA exposure, probably by normalizing the VPA-disrupted expression of multiple genes including Cxcr4 in adult NS/PCs. Replenishing Cxcr4 expression alone in NS/PCs was sufficient to overcome the aberrant migration of newborn neurons and increased seizure susceptibility in VPA-exposed mice. Thus, prenatal exposure to an AED, VPA, has a long-term effect on the behavior of NS/PCs in offspring, but this effect can be counteracted by a simple physical activity. Our findings offer a step to developing strategies for managing detrimental effects in offspring exposed to VPA in utero..
2. Naohiro Uezono, Yicheng Zhu, Yusuke Fujimoto, Tetsuro Yasui, Taito Matsuda, Masahide Nakajo, Masahiko Abematsu, Takao Setoguchi, Shuji Mori, Hideo K. Takahashi, Setsuro Komiya, Masahiro Nishibori, Kinichi Nakashima, Prior Treatment with Anti-High Mobility Group Box-1 Antibody Boosts Human Neural Stem Cell Transplantation-Mediated Functional Recovery After Spinal Cord Injury, Stem Cells,, 36, 5, 737-750, 2018.05, Together with residual host neurons, transplanted neural stem cell (NSC)-derived neurons play a critical role in reconstructing disrupted neural circuits after spinal cord injury (SCI). Since a large number of tracts are disrupted and the majority of host neurons die around the lesion site as the damage spreads, minimizing this spreading and preserving the lesion site are important for attaining further improvements in reconstruction. High mobility group box-1 (HMGB1) is a damage-associated molecular pattern protein that triggers sterile inflammation after tissue injury. In the ischemic and injured brain, neutralization of HMGB1 with a specific antibody reportedly stabilizes the blood-brain barrier, suppresses inflammatory cytokine expression, and improves functional recovery. Using a SCI model mouse, we here developed a combinatorial treatment for SCI: administering anti-HMGB1 antibody prior to transplantation of NSCs derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC-NSCs) yielded a dramatic improvement in locomotion recovery after SCI. Even anti-HMGB1 antibody treatment alone alleviated blood-spinal cord barrier disruption and edema formation, and increased the number of neurites from spared axons and the survival of host neurons, resulting in functional recovery. However, this recovery was greatly enhanced by the subsequent hiPSC-NSC transplantation, reaching an extent that has never before been reported. We also found that this improved recovery was directly associated with connections established between surviving host neurons and transplant-derived neurons. Taken together, our results highlight combinatorial treatment with anti-HMGB1 antibody and hiPSC-NSC transplantation as a promising novel therapy for SCI. Stem Cells 2018;36:737–750..
3. Tsukasa Sanosaka, Takuya Imamura, Nobuhiko Hamazaki, Muh Chyi Chai, Katsuhide Igarashi, Maky Ideta-Otsuka, Fumihito Miura, Takashi Ito, Nobuyuki Fujii, Kazuho Ikeo, Kinichi Nakashima, DNA Methylome Analysis Identifies Transcription Factor-Based Epigenomic Signatures of Multilineage Competence in Neural Stem/Progenitor Cells, Cell Reports,, 20, 12, 2992-3003, 2017.09, Regulation of the epigenome during in vivo specification of brain stem cells is still poorly understood. Here, we report DNA methylome analyses of directly sampled cortical neural stem and progenitor cells (NS/PCs) at different development stages, as well as those of terminally differentiated cortical neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. We found that sequential specification of cortical NS/PCs is regulated by two successive waves of demethylation at early and late development stages, which are responsible for the establishment of neuron- and glia-specific low-methylated regions (LMRs), respectively. The regulatory role of demethylation of the gliogenic genes was substantiated by the enrichment of nuclear factor I (NFI)-binding sites. We provide evidence that de novo DNA methylation of neuron-specific LMRs establishes glia-specific epigenotypes, essentially by silencing neuronal genes. Our data highlight the in vivo implications of DNA methylation dynamics in shaping epigenomic features that confer the differentiation potential of NS/PCs sequentially during development..
4. Tetsuro Yasui, Naohiro Uezono, Hideyuki Nakashima, Hirofumi Noguchi, Taito Matsuda, Tomoko Noda-Andoh, Hideyuki Okano, Kinichi Nakashima, Hypoxia Epigenetically Confers Astrocytic Differentiation Potential on Human Pluripotent Cell-Derived Neural Precursor Cells, Stem Cell Reports,, 8, 6, 1743-1756, 2017.06, Human neural precursor cells (hNPCs) derived from pluripotent stem cells display a high propensity for neuronal differentiation, but they require long-term culturing to differentiate efficiently into astrocytes. The mechanisms underlying this biased fate specification of hNPCs remain elusive. Here, we show that hypoxia confers astrocytic differentiation potential on hNPCs through epigenetic gene regulation, and that this was achieved by cooperation between hypoxia-inducible factor 1α and Notch signaling, accompanied by a reduction of DNA methylation level in the promoter region of a typical astrocyte-specific gene, Glial fibrillary acidic protein. Furthermore, we found that this hypoxic culture condition could be applied to rapid generation of astrocytes from Rett syndrome patient-derived hNPCs, and that these astrocytes impaired neuronal development. Thus, our findings shed further light on the molecular mechanisms regulating hNPC differentiation and provide attractive tools for the development of therapeutic strategies for treating astrocyte-mediated neurological disorders..
5. Berry Juliandi, Kentaro Tanemura, Katsuhide Igarashi, Takashi Tominaga, Yusuke Furukawa, Maky Otsuka, Noriko Moriyama, Daigo Ikegami, Masahiko Abematsu, Tsukasa Sanosaka, Keita Tsujimura, Minoru Narita, Jun Kanno, Kinichi Nakashima, Reduced Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis and Cognitive Impairments following Prenatal Treatment of the Antiepileptic Drug Valproic Acid, Stem Cell Reports,, 5, 6, 996-1009, 2015.12, Prenatal exposure to valproic acid (VPA), an established antiepileptic drug, has been reported to impair postnatal cognitive function in children born to VPA-treated epileptic mothers. However, how these defects arise and how they can be overcome remain unknown. Using mice, we found that comparable postnatal cognitive functional impairment is very likely correlated to the untimely enhancement of embryonic neurogenesis, which led to depletion of the neural precursor cell pool and consequently a decreased level of adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus. Moreover, hippocampal neurons in the offspring of VPA-treated mice showed abnormal morphology and activity. Surprisingly, these impairments could be ameliorated by voluntary running. Our study suggests that although prenatal exposure to antiepileptic drugs such as VPA may have detrimental effects that persist until adulthood, these effects may be offset by a simple physical activity such as running..
6. Taito Matsuda, Naoya Murao, Yuki Katano, Berry Juliandi, Jun Kohyama, Shizuo Akira, Taro Kawai, Kinichi Nakashima, TLR9 signalling in microglia attenuates seizure-induced aberrant neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus, Nature Communications,, 6, 2015.03, Pathological conditions such as epilepsy cause misregulation of adult neural stem/progenitor populations in the adult hippocampus in mice, and the resulting abnormal neurogenesis leads to impairment in learning and memory. However, how animals cope with abnormal neurogenesis remains unknown. Here we show that microglia in the mouse hippocampus attenuate convulsive seizure-mediated aberrant neurogenesis through the activation of Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9), an innate immune sensor known to recognize microbial DNA and trigger inflammatory responses. We found that microglia sense self-DNA from degenerating neurons following seizure, and secrete tumour necrosis factor-α, resulting in attenuation of aberrant neurogenesis. Furthermore, TLR9 deficiency exacerbated seizure-induced cognitive decline and recurrent seizure severity. Our findings thus suggest the existence of bidirectional communication between the innate immune and nervous systems for the maintenance of adult brain integrity..
7. Keita Tsujimura, Koichiro Irie, Hideyuki Nakashima, Yoshihiro Egashira, Yoichiro Fukao, Masayuki Fujiwara, Masayuki Itoh, Masahiro Uesaka, Takuya Imamura, Yasukazu Nakahata, Yui Yamashita, Takaya Abe, Shigeo Takamori, Kinichi Nakashima, MiR-199a Links MeCP2 with mTOR Signaling and Its Dysregulation Leads to Rett Syndrome Phenotypes, Cell Reports,, 12, 11, 1887-1901, 2015.01, Rett syndrome (RTT) is a neurodevelopmental disorder caused by MECP2 mutations. Although emerging evidence suggests that MeCP2 deficiency is associated with dysregulation of mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), which functions as a hub for various signaling pathways, the mechanism underlying this association and the molecular pathophysiology of RTT remain elusive. We show here that MeCP2 promotes the posttranscriptional processing of particular microRNAs (miRNAs) as a component of the microprocessor Drosha complex. Among the MeCP2-regulated miRNAs, we found that miR-199a positively controls mTOR signaling by targeting inhibitors for mTOR signaling. miR-199a and its targets have opposite effects on mTOR activity, ameliorating and inducing RTT neuronal phenotypes, respectively. Furthermore, genetic deletion of miR-199a-2 led to a reduction of mTOR activity in the brain and recapitulated numerous RTT phenotypes in mice. Together, these findings establish miR-199a as a critical downstream target of MeCP2 in RTT pathogenesis by linking MeCP2 with mTOR signaling..