I’m a physician-scientist in the Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology and joined the University of Iowa in 2021. My gastroenterology research foci are muscle layer and mucosa of gastrointestinal tract (GI). My final goal is to develop new treatments for gastrointestinal diseases by translating our basic scientific findings to clinical studies.

Our Current Projects

The aim of this project is to understand the electrophysiological molecular mechanism of the contraction and relaxation of GI smooth muscle layers in the physiological and pathophysiological setting. GI smooth muscle layer motility are controlled by electrical dynamics, and we are investigating them using various gene-edited mice, human tissue and pig tissue.

I discovered a novel population of cells in GI subepithelial niche, which is subepithelial platelet-derived growth factor receptor α+ cells (SPAC). We are investigating the physiological and pathophysiological roles of SPAC in mouse and human colon using various gene-edited mice and mouse disease model.

To tackle these projects, we employ various approaches including the live-tissue & cell imaging with the high-speed confocal laser-point-scanning system (Nikon AX-R), organ bath contractile experiments, FACS, qPCR, morphological experiments with confocal fluorescent microscopy and transmission electron microscopy, generation of disease model mice, generation and utilization of new gene edited mice with targeted gene floxed, gene-encoded Ca2+ indicator and gene-encoded voltage indicator.

Masaaki Kurahashi photo

Masaaki Kurahashi, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Internal Medicine

Selected Publications

Kurahashi M, Kito Y, Hara M, Takeyama H, Sanders KM, Hashitani H. Norepinephrine has dual effects on human colonic contractions through distinct subtypes of alpha 1 adrenoceptors. Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol 2020;10:658-671.

Kurahashi M, Kito Y, Baker SA, Jennings LK, Dowers JGR, Koh SD, Sanders KM. A novel postsynaptic signal pathway of sympathetic neural regulation of murine colonic motility. FASEB J 2020;34:5563-5577.

Durnin L, Hwang SJ, Kurahashi M, Drumm BT, Ward SM, Sasse KC, Sanders KM, Mutafova-Yambolieva VN. Uridine adenosine tetraphosphate is a novel neurogenic P2Y1 receptor activator in the gut. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2014;111:15821-15816.

Kurahashi M, Mutafova-Yambolieva V, Koh SD, et al. Platelet-derived growth factor receptor-α-positive cells and not smooth muscle cells mediate purinergic hyperpolarization in murine colonic muscles. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol 2014;307:C561-C570.

Kurahashi M, Nakano Y, Peri LE, Townsend JB, Ward SM, Sanders KM. A novel population of subepithelial platelet-derived growth factor receptor α-positive cells in the mouse and human colon. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 2013;304:G823-G834.

Kurahashi M, Nakano Y, Henning GW, Ward SM, Sanders KM. Platelet-derived growth factor receptor α-positive cells in the tunica muscularis of human colon. J Cell Mol Med 2012;16:1397-1404.

Kurahashi M, Zheng H, Dwyer L, Ward SM, Koh SD, Sanders KM. A functional role for the 'fibroblast-like cells' in gastrointestinal smooth muscle. J Physiol 2011;589:697-710.

Kurahashi M, Niwa Y, Cheng J, Ohsaki Y, Fujita A, Goto H, Fujimoto T, Torihashi S. Platelet-derived growth factor signals play critical roles in differentiation of longitudinal smooth muscle cells in mouse embryonic gut. Neurogastroenterol Motil 2008;20:521-531.

All Publications

See a complete list of Dr. Kurahashi's publications at PubMed.

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Google Scholar

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