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The Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research

Analytical Psychopharmacology


Saito Lab

Lab Name
Head of Lab

Dr. Saito studies the effects of ethanol on the developing brain leading to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.


Vulnerability of the developing brain to the toxic effects of alcohol is a crucial factor leading to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Among various animal models for FASD, neonatal mice exposed to ethanol, which display acute apoptotic neurodegeneration and the following long-lasting behavioral and physiological abnormalities, have been widely used for elucidating mechanisms behind FASD. Using this animal model, it was observed that various bioactive lipid molecules changed their metabolism. Recently, it was revealed that signaling lipid molecules regulate biological functions of neural cells and affect their survival. It appears that some toxic lipid metabolites are linked to ethanol neurotoxicity in neonatal mice.  Changes in the brain lipid metabolism associated with FASD are examined.

Current Investigations
  • To study changes in the levels of sphingolipids, phospholipids and simple lipids in subcellular organelles and extracellular vesicles in the brain exposed to environmental toxins such as ethanol.  
  • To study functions of gangliosides in the differentiation of glia and neurons.