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Mariko Saito, PhD

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry

Summary

My research focuses on elucidating the mechanisms behind alcohol-induced acute damage in the developing brain, which leads to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, a primary cause of intellectual disability. I also investigate the consequent long-lasting biochemical, anatomical, and electrophysiological changes that cause abnormal behavior in adult mice.

Our work in mouse models has led to several novel findings:

  • Alcohol alters lipid metabolism in the developing brain. These changes include elevations in ceramide, which is implicated in alcohol-induced apoptosis, and in GM2 gangliosides, which are implicated in alcohol-induced glial cell activation.
  • Alcohol inhibits AKT, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), and activated glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta (GSK3B) in the developing brain, resulting in increased phosphorylation of tau.
  • Alcohol exposure in neonatal mice induces acute neurodegeneration and glial cell activation, as well as long-lasting anatomical, electrophysiological, and behavioral changes. Co-treatment with lithium, a GSK3B inhibitor, reverses these short- and long-term effects of alcohol exposure during development.
  • The major long-term cellular change induced by alcohol exposure during development is a specific decrease in parvalbumin interneurons, which is also observed in other developmental disorders.
  • Fragmented sleep, one of the long-lasting behavioral changes caused by alcohol exposure during development, may contribute to cognitive dysfunction.
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These focus areas and their associated publications are derived from medical subject headings from PubMed.
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Research Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry

PhD from University of Tokyo

Saito, Mariko; Saito, Mitsuo; Das, Bhaskar C

International journal of developmental neuroscience. 2019 Oct; 77:48-59

Smiley, John F; Bleiwas, Cynthia; Masiello, Kurt; Petkova, Eva; Betz, Judith; Hui, Maria; Wilson, Donald A; Saito, Mariko

Brain structure & function. 2019 Jun; 224(5):1871-1884

Saito, Mariko; Smiley, John F; Hui, Maria; Masiello, Kurt; Betz, Judith; Ilina, Maria; Saito, Mitsuo; Wilson, Donald A

Cerebral cortex. 2019 Apr 01; 29(4):1383-1397

Peng, Katherine Y; Pérez-González, Rocío; Alldred, Melissa J; Goulbourne, Chris N; Morales-Corraliza, Jose; Saito, Mariko; Saito, Mitsuo; Ginsberg, Stephen D; Mathews, Paul M; Levy, Efrat

Brain. 2019 Jan 01; 142(1):163-175

Perez-Gonzalez, Rocio; Gauthier, Sebastien A; Kumar, Asok; Saito, Mitsuo; Saito, Mariko; Levy, Efrat

Methods in molecular biology. 2017 Apr; 1545:139-151

Saito, Mariko; Chakraborty, Goutam; Hui, Maria; Masiello, Kurt; Saito, Mitsuo

Brain sciences. 2016 Aug 16; 6(3):

Wilson, D A; Masiello, K; Lewin, M P; Hui, M; Smiley, J F; Saito, M

Neuroscience. 2016 May 13; 322:18-27