Pharmacology (Akagi Lab.)

Prof. Dr. Masaaki Akagi
Dr. Nobuaki Matsui

Research project

Our group engage in the research of therapeutic agents against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer disease. We are especially focused on neurotrophic natural products. We have found that magnolol and honokiol, main constituents of the Magnolia plants prevent age-related cholinergic neurons loss and cognitive impairment in senescence accelerated mice (SAMP8). We have also demonstrated that phenylbutenoid dimers isolated from Bangle, a tropical ginger enhances hippocampal neurogenesis in olfactory bulbectomized mice.

Our group is also focused on the role of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor TrkB on the responses of antidepressant and sedative drugs.



  1. Nakai M, Iizuka M, Matsui N, Hosogi K, Imai A, Abe N, Shiraishi H, Hirata A, Yagi Y, Jobu K, Yokota J, Kato E, Hosoda S, Yoshioka S, Harada K, Kubo M, Fukuyama Y, Miyamura M. Bangle (Zingiber purpureum) improves spatial learning, reduces deficits in memory, and promotes neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of senescence-accelerated mouse P8. J Med Food. In press
  2. Matsui N, Ito D, Takabatake Y, Nashioka E, Tada S, Kanagawa M, Fukuishi N, Akagi, M. Compound 48/80, a mast cell stimulator, enhances synthesis of IgE and IgG induced by intranasal application of ovalbumin in mice. Biol. Pharm. Bull. 38(12): 1954-9 (2015).
  3. Akagi M, Matsui N, Akae H, Hirashima N, Fukuishi N, Fukuyama Y, Akagi R. Nonpeptide neurotrophic agents useful for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s diseases. J. Pharmacol. Sci. 127, 155-63 (2015)
  4. Koskimäki J, Matsui N, Umemori J, Rantamäki T, Castrén E. Nimodipine activates TrkB neurotrophin receptors and induces neuroplastic and neuroprotective signaling events in the mouse hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Cell Mol Neurobiol. 35(2): 189-96 (2015)
  5. Fukuishi N, Murakami S, Ohno A, Yamanaka N, Matsui N, Fukutsuji K, Yamada S, Itoh K, Akagi M. Does β-hexosaminidase function only as a degranulation indicator in mast cells? The primary role of β-hexosaminidase in mast cell granules. J Immunol. 193(4): 1886-94 (2014)
  6. Fukuishi N, Igawa Y, Kunimi T, Hamano H, Toyota M, Takahashi H, Kenmoku H, Yagi Y, Matsui N, Akagi M. Generation of mast cells from mouse fetus: analysis of differentiation and functionality, and transcriptome profiling using next generation sequencer. PLoS One. 8(4): e60837 (2013).
  7. Matsui N, Kido Y, Okada H, Kubo M, Nakai M, Fukuishi N, Fukuyama Y, Akagi M. Phenylbutenoid dimers isolated from Zingiber purpureum exert neurotrophic effects on cultured neurons and enhance hippocampal neurogenesis in olfactory bulbectomized mice. Neurosci Lett. 513(1): 72-7 (2012)
  8. Kurihara D, Fukuishi N, Kadota K, Hamano H, Teruya H, Matsui N, Akagi M.  Mast cells modulate interleukin-4 production independently of interferon-gamma generation by invariant natural killer T cells through the suppression of Notch signaling.  J. Health. Sci. 57(2): 197-203 (2011)
  9. Imajo N, Kurihara D, Fukuishi N, Inukai A, matsushita S, Noda S, Toyoda M, Yoshioka M, Teruya H, Nishii Y, Matsui N, Akagi M.  Lipoteichoic acid improves the capability of mast cells in the host defense system against bacteria.  Inflamm Res. 58(11): 797-807 (2009)
  10. Matsui N, Takahashi K, Takeichi M, Kuroshita T, Noguchi K, Yamazaki K, Tagashira H, Tsutsui K, Okada H, Kido Y, Yasui Y, Fukuishi N, Fukuyama Y, Akagi M. Magnolol and honokiol prevent learning and memory impairment and cholinergic deficit in SAMP8 mice. Brain Res.1305: 108-17 (2009).