Professional Education

  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University (2005)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Hokkaido University (2009)

Stanford Advisors


Journal Articles

  • Noninvasive detection of sleep/wake changes and cataplexy-like behaviors in orexin/ataxin-3 transgenic narcoleptic mice across the disease onset EXPERIMENTAL NEUROLOGY Sato, M., Sagawa, Y., Hirai, N., Sato, S., Okuro, M., Kumar, S., Kanbayashi, T., Shimizu, T., Sakai, N., Nishino, S. 2014; 261: 744-751
  • Greatly Increased Numbers of Histamine Cells in Human Narcolepsy with Cataplexy ANNALS OF NEUROLOGY John, J., Thannickal, T. C., McGregor, R., Ramanathan, L., Ohtsu, H., Nishino, S., Sakai, N., Yamanaka, A., Stone, C., Cornford, M., Siegel, J. M. 2013; 74 (6): 786-793


    To determine whether histamine cells are altered in human narcolepsy with cataplexy and in animal models of this disease.Immunohistochemistry for histidine decarboxylase (HDC) and quantitative microscopy were used to detect histamine cells in human narcoleptics, hypocretin (Hcrt) receptor-2 mutant dogs, and 3 mouse narcolepsy models: Hcrt (orexin) knockouts, ataxin-3-orexin, and doxycycline-controlled-diphtheria-toxin-A-orexin.We found an average 64% increase in the number of histamine neurons in human narcolepsy with cataplexy, with no overlap between narcoleptics and controls. However, we did not see altered numbers of HDC cells in any of the animal models of narcolepsy.Changes in histamine cell numbers are not required for the major symptoms of narcolepsy, because all animal models have these symptoms. The histamine cell changes we saw in humans did not occur in the 4 animal models of Hcrt dysfunction we examined. Therefore, the loss of Hcrt receptor-2, of the Hcrt peptide, or of Hcrt cells is not sufficient to produce these changes. We speculate that the increased histamine cell numbers we see in human narcolepsy may instead be related to the process causing the human disorder. Although research has focused on possible antigens within the Hcrt cells that might trigger their autoimmune destruction, the present findings suggest that the triggering events of human narcolepsy may involve a proliferation of histamine-containing cells. We discuss this and other explanations of the difference between human narcoleptics and animal models of narcolepsy, including therapeutic drug use and species differences. Ann Neurol 2013;74:786-793.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/ana.23968

    View details for Web of Science ID 000329891100009

    View details for PubMedID 23821583

  • Muscleblind-like 2-Mediated Alternative Splicing in the Developing Brain and Dysregulation in Myotonic Dystrophy NEURON Charizanis, K., Lee, K., Batra, R., Goodwin, M., Zhang, C., Yuan, Y., Shiue, L., Cline, M., Scotti, M. M., Xia, G., Kumar, A., Ashizawa, T., Clark, H. B., Kimura, T., Takahashi, M. P., Fujimura, H., Jinnai, K., Yoshikawa, H., Gomes-Pereira, M., Gourdon, G., Sakai, N., Nishino, S., Foster, T. C., Ares, M., Darnell, R. B., Swanson, M. S. 2012; 75 (3): 437-450


    The RNA-mediated disease model for myotonic dystrophy (DM) proposes that microsatellite C(C)TG expansions express toxic RNAs that disrupt splicing regulation by altering MBNL1 and CELF1 activities. While this model explains DM manifestations in muscle, less is known about the effects of C(C)UG expression on the brain. Here, we report that Mbnl2 knockout mice develop several DM-associated central nervous system (CNS) features including abnormal REM sleep propensity and deficits in spatial memory. Mbnl2 is prominently expressed in the hippocampus and Mbnl2 knockouts show a decrease in NMDA receptor (NMDAR) synaptic transmission and impaired hippocampal synaptic plasticity. While Mbnl2 loss did not significantly alter target transcript levels in the hippocampus, misregulated splicing of hundreds of exons was detected using splicing microarrays, RNA-seq, and HITS-CLIP. Importantly, the majority of the Mbnl2-regulated exons examined were similarly misregulated in DM. We propose that major pathological features of the DM brain result from disruption of the MBNL2-mediated developmental splicing program.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.05.029

    View details for Web of Science ID 000307417700012

    View details for PubMedID 22884328

  • Familial narcolepsy in the Lipizzaner horse: a report of three fillies born to the same sire VETERINARY QUARTERLY Ludvikova, E., Nishino, S., Sakai, N., Jahn, P. 2012; 32 (2): 99-102


    The occurrence of sleep disorder in three half sibling Lipizzaner is described. Sleepiness, swaying, stumbling, carpal joints buckling and falling down onto the carpal joints had been present since early foal age in all of them. Clinical signs had gradually reduced since the age of 2 years in cases 1 and 3. Sleepiness was induced by going out from the stable in adulthood. A physostigmine test was performed in all three affected horses and produced positive results in cases 1 and 3. The result of the test in case 2 was unclear due to the almost continuous sleepiness of the foal. Hypocretin-1 concentration in the cerebrospinal fluid was established using a standardised radioimmunoassay in case 1 (317.85?pg/mL), case 2 (303.43?pg/mL) and five adult control horses (275.2?±?47.9 [SD] pg/mL) and was considered as normal in all horses. The sire of the affected horses has had 19 other registered offspring who did not show clinical signs of sleep disorder and also dams of all three cases produced healthy foals. Based on the demographic and clinical data together with the responses to the physostigmine challenges, the diagnosis of familial equine narcolepsy was made.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/01652176.2012.714089

    View details for Web of Science ID 000308251400005

    View details for PubMedID 22889297

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