News Releases & Research Results In vivo visualization of an abnormal protein potentially inducing depression in older individuals: opening a path for the treatment and prevention of depression in the elderly

News Releases & Research Results


The results of a collaborative research conducted by Visiting Researcher Sho Moriguchi, Head Makoto Higuchi of the Department of Functional Brain Imaging Research, National Institute of Radiological Sciences, National Institutes for Quantum Medical Science and Technology, and Professor Masaru Mimura of the Department of Neuropsychiatry, Keio University School of Medicine, and others.

The key results of research are as follows:

  • Using in vivo imaging with positron emission tomography (PET), the research group showed for the first time that the tau protein, which is considered as a causative substance for dementia, accumulates in the brain at the onset of depression in the elderly.
  • Accumulation of the tau protein in the cerebral cortex of elderly patients with depression, which was particularly marked in those exhibiting psychotic symptoms, was shown to possibly be the cause of these psychotic symptoms.
  • The results of the research are not only useful in the diagnosis of depression in elderly individuals, but are also expected to facilitate the pathological elucidation of this condition as well as the consequent establishment of a new therapy.

This research project was conducted with the support of the Strategic Research Program for Brain Sciences (SRPBS) by AMED.

The results of research were published online in Molecular Psychiatry, an international academic journal, on July 1.


Moriguchi S., et al. Excess tau PET ligand retention in elderly patients with major depressive disorder  Molecular Psychiatry


Last updated 07/01/20