Development of molecular probes for the in vivo analysis of biological function, etiological mechanisms, and action mechanisms of drugs

 We are currently conducting research on molecular probes, which are reagents for molecular imaging. Also, on the basis of analysis of the relationships among the structure, activity, and distribution, we are developing molecular probes effective for the in vivo imaging of neurotransmitter transporters and receptors. For example, we have succeeded in imaging nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the human brain, and are presently conducting research into the quantitative evaluation of the in vivo interactions of various neurotransmission functions, their changes due to drugs, and therapeutic effects. We have developed several radiolabeled probes for imaging of β-amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain. Based on the analyses of structure-activity relationships, we also develop molecular probes effective for molecular imaging of transporters and receptors of neurotransmitters and endocrine peptides.

  Furthermore, with the molecular design concept of bifunctional compounds having a moiety related to physiologic activities and a moiety that emits detection signals of radiation etc., within the same molecule, we are also conducting research for the development of molecular probes derived from physiologically active peptides or proteins.

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