Dr. Satoru Otani (Researcher INSERM)

Vision Institute
Aging in Vision and Action Lab
CNRS – INSERM – Sorbonne University
17, rue Moreau F-75012 Paris, France
Phone: +33 (0)1 53 46 26 55

Satoru Otani is an INSERM researcher (CR1). His main interest is the cellular and molecular mechanisms of long-term synaptic plasticity in rodent prefrontal cortex. He has particularly studied how dopamine, an important neurotransmitter for prefrontal function, regulates synaptic plasticity and how dopamine-dependent plasticity is related to high-order cognitive function of prefrontal cortex, using various techniques including electrophysiology, neuropharmacology, neurochemistry, and behavioral manipulation. Currently, he studies the ameliorating effect of virtual reality visual input, designed to activate prefrontal cortex and dopamine system, on age-related cognitive declines using animal models.

He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University, Japan, in 1983. In 1989, he received the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. D) from University of Otago, New Zealand (W.C. Abraham’s lab). After postgraduate studies in INSERM U29 (Y. Ben-Ari), University of Virginia (W.B. Levy), Roche Institute of Molecular Biology (J.A. Connor), and University of Paris-Sud (F. Crepel), he acquired the INSERM position in 1997 and worked until 2012 as a principal investigator and group leader in University of Paris 6 (CNRS-UMR7102 directed by J. Mariani and INSERM U952/CNRS-UMR7224 directed by B. Giros). He received HDR from University of Paris 6 in 2001. From 2012 to 2018, he worked in Japan as a professor in Ryotokuji University Medical Education Center before returning to Paris in 2018 to focus on research again. In Japan, he served as a member for the national university entrance examination committee (Biology section, Japanese Ministry of Science and Technology; 2015-2017). He currently serves as an executive organizer for Japan-France Biological Society.

Keywords:  prefrontal cortex, synaptic plasticity, dopamine, long-term potentiation, long-term depression, executive function, learning and memory, neuromodulators, aging, virtual reality, cellular neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience.


 CV and Publication List (pdf): [ download ]



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  1. Sheynikhovich D, Otani S, Bai J and Arleo A (2023) Long-term memory, synaptic plasticity, and dopamine in rodent medial prefrontal cortex: Role in executive functions. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, (in press).


  1. Pilorge M, Fassier C, Le Corronc H, Potey A, Bai J, De Gois S, Delaby E, Assouline B, Guinchat V, Devillard F, Delorme R, Nygren G, Rastam M, Meier JC, Otani S, Cheval H, James VM, Topf M, Dear TN, Gillberg C, Leboyer M, Giros B, Gautron S, Hazan J, Harvey RJ, Legendre P and Betancur C (2016) Genetic and functional analyses demonstrate a role for abnormal glycinergic signaling in autism. Mol. Psychiatry, 21(7):936-945.


  1. Blot K, Kimura S, Bai J, Kemp A, Manahanvaughan D, Giros B, Tzavara E and Otani S (2015) Modulation of Hippocampus-Prefrontal Cortex Synaptic Transmission and Disruption of Executive Cognitive Functions by MK-801. Cerebral Cortex, 25(5):1348-61.
  2. Ryotokuji K, Ishimaru K, Kihara K, Nakajima T, Otani S and Namiki Y (2015) Preliminary results of highly localized plantar irradiation with low incident levels of mid-infrared energy which contributes to the prevention of dementia associated with underlying diabetes mellitus. Laser Ther, 24(1):27-32.
  3. Ryotokuji K, Nakajima T, Ishimaru K, Ozakishimada A, Kihara K, Namiki Y and Otani S (2015) Effect of Stress-Free Therapy on immune system: Induction of Interleukin 10 expression in lymphocytes through activation of CD19(+) CD24(hi) CD38(hi) regulatory B Cells. Laser Ther, 24(3):179-88.
  4. Liu H, Yamaguchi T, Ryotokuji K, Otani S, Kobayashi H, Iseki M and Inada E (2015) The Impact of Chronic Social Stress on Emotional Behavior in Mice and the Therapeutic Effect of Peripheral Mild-Heat Stimulation. Health, 7(10):1294-1305.
  5. Otani S (2015) Mechanisms and Functions of Synaptic Plasticity in Mammalian Cortical Neurons. Juntendo Medical Journal, 61(2):171-174.
  6. Otani S, Jing B and Blot K (2015) Dopaminergic modulation of synaptic plasticity in rat prefrontal neurons. Neuroscience Bulletin, 31(2):183-190.


  1. Bai J, Blot K, Tzavara E, Nosten-Bertrand M, Giros B and Otani S (2014) Inhibition of dopamine transporter activity impairs synaptic depression in rat prefrontal cortex through over-stimulation of D1 receptors. Cerebral Cortex, 24(4):945-55.
  2. Ryotokuji K, Ishimaru K, Kihara K, Namiki Y, Nakashima T and Otani S (2014) Effect of Stress-free Therapy on Cerebral Blood Flow: Comparisons among patients with metabolic cardiovascular disease, healthy subjects and placebo-treated subjects. Laser Therapy, 23(1):9-12.


  1. Sheynikhovich D, Otani S and Arleo A (2013) Dopaminergic control of LTD/LTP threshold in prefrontal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(34):13914-26.
  2. Blot K, Bai J and Otani S (2013) The effect of non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801 on neuronal activity in rodent prefrontal cortex: an animal model for cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia. Journal of physiology, Paris, 107(6):448-51.


  1. Sheynikhovich D, Otani S and Arleo A (2012) The role of dopamine in LTP/LTD threshold modulation in the prefrontal cortex. In 8th FENS Forum of Neuroscience, Barcelona,Spain.
  2. Ishikawa S, Saito Y, Yanagawa Y, Otani S, Hiraide S, Shimamura K, Matsumoto M and Togashi H (2012) Early postnatal stress alters extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling in the corticolimbic system modulating emotional circuitry in adult rats. European Journal of Neuroscience, 35(1):135-145.
  3. Saito Y, Matsumoto M, Otani S, Yanagawa Y, Hiraide S, Ishikawa S, Kimura SI, Shimamura KI and Togashi H (2012) Phase-dependent synaptic changes in the hippocampal CA1 field underlying extinction processes in freely moving rats. Neurobiology of Learning & Memory, 97(4):361-369.
  4. Baudin A, Blot K, Verney C, Estevez L, Santamaria J, Gressens P, Giros B, Otani S, Daugé V and Naudon L (2012) Maternal deprivation induces deficits in temporal memory and cognitive flexibility and exaggerates synaptic plasticity in the rat medial prefrontal cortex. Neurobiology of Learning & Memory, 98(3):207-214.


  1. Sheynikhovich D, Otani S and Arleo A (2011) The role of phasic and tonic dopamine for long-term plasticity in the rat prefrontal cortex: a computational model. In Proceedings of the 10th French Society for Neuroscience Meeting, Marseille, France.
  2. Sheynikhovich D, Otani S and Arleo A (2011) The role of tonic and phasic dopamine for long-term synaptic plasticity in the prefrontal cortex: a computational model. Journal of Physiology P, 105 (1-3):45-52.
  3. Kamiyama H, Matsumoto M, Otani S, Kimura SI, Shimamura KI, Ishikawa S, Yanagawa Y and Togashi H (2011) Mechanisms underlying ketamine-induced synaptic depression in rat hippocampus-medial prefrontal cortex pathway. Neuroscience, 177(2):159-169.
  4. Lee YA, Poirier P, Otani S and Goto Y (2011) Dorsal-ventral distinction of chronic stress-induced electrophysiological alterations in the rat medial prefrontal cortex. Neuroscience, 183(23):108-120.


  1. Sheynikhovich D, Otani S and Arleo A (2010) The role of dopamine in long-term plasticity in the rat prefrontal cortex: a computational model. In Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, Conference Abstract: Computational and Systems Neuroscience (Cosyne).
  2. Sheynikhovich D, Otani S and Arleo A (2010) The role of dopamine in long-term plasticity in the rat prefrontal cortex: a computational model. In FENS Abstracts, vol. 5.
  3. Sheynikhovich D, Otani S and Arleo A (2010) A modeling study of the role of tonic vs. phasic dopamine input to the prefrontal cortex. In Gervais, R. et al., editors, Proceedings of the Fifth french conference on computational neuroscience (Neurocomp), pages 77-81.
  4. Marzo A, Bai JJ, Vanhoutte P and Otani S (2010) Cellular mechanisms of long-term depression induced by noradrenaline in rat prefrontal neurons. Neuroscience, 169(1):74-86.
  5. Goto Y, Yang CR and Otani S (2010) Functional and Dysfunctional Synaptic Plasticity in Prefrontal Cortex: Roles in Psychiatric Disorders. Biol Psychiatry, 67(3):199-207.


  1. Sheynikhovich D, Otani S and Arleo A (2009) Role of dopamine for long-term plasticity in the rat prefrontal cortex: a computational model. In Renaud, S. and Saighi, S., editors, Proceedings of the Fourth french conference on computational neuroscience (Neurocomp), vol. 4, pages 30.
  2. Marzo A, Bai J and Otani S (2009) Neuroplasticity Regulation by Noradrenaline in Mammalian Brain. Current Neuropharmacology, 7(4):286-295.
  3. Otani Setc (2009) Recent progress in the research of higher-order functions of the brain. Kyoto University Press, Kyoto.


  1. Goto Y, Otani S and Grace AA (2007) The Yin and Yang of Dopamine Release: A New Perspective. Neuropharmacology, 53(5):583-587.
  2. Goto Y and Otani S (2007) Prefrontal Cortical Synaptic Plasticity: The Roles of Dopamine and Implication for Schizophrenia. Springer, Berlin.


  1. Matsuda Y, Marzo A and Otani S (2006) The presence of background dopamine signal converts long-term synaptic depression to potentiation in rat prefrontal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 26(18):4803-4810.


  1. Barbara JG, Auclair N, Roisin MP, Otani S, Valjent E, Caboche J, Soubrie P and Crepel F (2003) Direct and indirect interactions between cannabinoid CB1 receptor and group II metabotropic glutamate receptor signalling in layer V pyramidal neurons from the rat prefrontal cortex. European Journal of Neuroscience, 17(5):981-990.
  2. Otani S (2003) Prefrontal cortex function, quasi-physiological stimuli, and synaptic plasticity. Journal of Physiology - Paris, 97(4):423-430.
  3. Otani S, Daniel H, Roisin MP and Crepel F (2003) Dopaminergic modulation of long-term synaptic plasticity in rat prefrontal neurons. Cerebral Cortex, 13(11):1251-56.


  1. Blond O, Crépel F and Otani S (2002) Long-term potentiation in rat prefrontal slices facilitated by phased application of dopamine. European Journal of Pharmacology, 438(1-2):115-116.
  2. Otani S, Daniel H, Takita M and Crépel F (2002) Long-term depression induced by postsynaptic group II metabotropic glutamate receptors linked to phospholipase C and intracellular calcium rises in rat prefrontal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 22(9):3434-3444.
  3. Otani S (2002) Memory trace in prefrontal cortex: theory for the cognitive switch. Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc, 77(4):563-577.


  1. Auclair N, Otani S, Soubrie P and Crepel F (2000) Cannabinoids Modulate Synaptic Strength and Plasticity at Glutamatergic Synapses of Rat Prefrontal Cortex Pyramidal Neurons. Journal of Neurophysiology, 83(6):3287-93.


  1. Otani S, Auclair N, Desce JM, Roisin MP and Crépel F (1999) Dopamine receptors and groups I and II mGluRs cooperate for long-term depression induction in rat prefrontal cortex through converging postsynaptic activation of MAP kinases. Journal of Neuroscience, 19(22):9788-9802.
  2. Connor JA, Petrozzino J, Pozzo-Miller LD and Otani S (1999) Calcium signals in long-term potentiation and long-term depression. Canadian Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology, 77(9):722-734.


  1. Otani S and Connor JA (1998) Requirement of rapid Ca2+ entry and synaptic activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors for the induction of long-term depression in adult rat hippocampus. Journal of Physiology, 511(3):761-770.
  2. Otani S, Blond O, Desce J-M and Crepel F (1998) Dopamine facilitates long-term depression of glutamatergic transmission in rat prefrontal cortex. Neuroscience, 85(3):669-676.


  1. Blond O, Daniel H, Otani S, Jaillard D and Crépel F (1997) Presynaptic and postsynaptic effects of nitric oxide donors at synapses between parallel fibres and Purkinje cells: involvement in cerebellar long-term depression. Neuroscience, 77(4):945-954.


  1. Otani S and Connor JA (1996) A novel synaptic interaction underlying induction of long‐term depression in the area CA1 of adult rat hippocampus. Journal of Physiology, 492(1):225–230.
  2. Otani S and Connor JA (1996) Rapid dendritic Ca2+ influx is associated with induction of homosynaptic long-term depression in adult rat hippocampus. European Journal of Pharmacology, 318(1):R5-R6.


  1. Otani S and Connor JA (1995) Long-term depression of naïve synapses in adult hippocampus induced by asynchronous synaptic activity. Journal of Neurophysiology, 73(6):2596-2601.
  2. Otani S, Connor JA and Levy WB (1995) Long-term potentiation and evidence for novel synaptic association in CA1 stratum oriens of rat hippocampus. Learning & Memory, 2(2):101-106.


  1. Wenzel J, Otani S, Desmond NL and Levy WB (1994) Rapid development of somatic spines in stratum granulosum of the adult hippocampus in vitro. Brain Research, 656(1):127-134.


  1. Otani S, Ben-Ari Y and Roisin-Lallemand MP (1993) Metabotropic receptor stimulation coupled to weak tetanus leads to long-term potentiation and a rapid elevation of cytosolic protein kinase C activity. Brain Research, 613(1):1-9.
  2. Otani S and Ben-Ari Y (1993) Biochemical correlates of long-term potentiation in hippocampal synapses. International Review of Neurobiology, 35(1):1-41.


  1. Otani SR-LM-P,B-AY (1992) Enhancement of extracellular protein concentrations during long-term potentiation in the rat hippocampal slice. Neuroscience, 47(2):265-72.
  2. Aniksztejn L, Otani S and Ben‐Ari Y (1992) Quisqualate Metabotropic Receptors Modulate NMDA Currents and Facilitate Induction of Long‐Term Potentiation Through Protein Kinase C. European Journal of Neuroscience, 4(6):500-505.


  1. Charriautmarlangue C, Otani S, Creuzet C, Benari Y and Loeb J (1991) Rapid activation of hippocampal casein kinase II during long-term potentiation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 88(22):10232-6.
  2. Otani S and Ben-Ari Y (1991) Metabotropic receptor-mediated long-term potentiation in rat hippocampal slices. European Journal of Pharmacology, 205(3):325-6.
  3. Abraham WC and Otani S (1991) Macromolecules and the maintenance of long-term potentiation. Birkhauser Boston, Inc.


  1. Otani S, Marshall CJ, Tate WP, Goddard GV and Abraham WC (1989) Maintenance of long-term potentiation in rat dentate gyrus requires protein synthesis but not messenger RNA synthesis immediately post-tetanization. Neuroscience, 28(3):519-526.
  2. Otani S and Abraham WC (1989) Inhibition of protein synthesis in the dentate gyrus, but not the entorhinal cortex, blocks maintenance of long-term potentiation in rats. Neuroscience Letters, 106(1-2):175-180.


  1. Otani S, Goddard GV, Marshall CJ, Tate WP and Abraham WC (1988) Inhibitors of Protein Synthesis, but not mRNA Synthesis, Promote Decay of Long-Term Potentiation in Rat Dentate Gyrus. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg.


  1. Morimoto K, Otani S and Goddard GV (1987) Effects of acute and long-term treatment with amphetamine on evoked responses and long-term potentiation in the dentate gyrus of anesthetized rats. Brain Research, 407(1):137-143.