Jiro Kurata

TOPIC: Cerebral signatures of pain chronification


  • D., Ph.D., Junior Associate Professor of Anesthesiology
  • Tokyo Medical and Dental University Hospital of Medicine



After obtaining a Ph.D. degree in Kyoto, Japan from his series of research on the central nervous system effects of anaesthetics using electrophysiological and histochemical techniques in animal models, Jiro Kurata moved on to start functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies on the mechanisms of anaesthetic-induced unconsciousness and pain perception at University of Pittsburgh, U.S.A., in 1998. Here he authored several articles on pain-related cerebral activities and proposed a novel concept of neuroimaging approach to studying general anaesthetic effects and consciousness. Since he obtained a faculty position in Tokyo, Japan in 2002, he started up a neuroimaging laboratory as a primary investigator to inquire how general anaesthetics disrupt information processing and consciousness in the brain and how chronic pain alters cerebral sensory and cognitive networks. He has obtained several extramural grants (KAKENHI) from the Japanese government and currently leads a research team with up to 10 undergrad/postgrad students. He chaired the 9th International Symposium on Memory and Awareness in Anesthesia (MAA9) in Tokyo, Japan in 2014 (http://maa9.umin.jp/). His recent research topics include:

  1. Cross-correlogram analysis of cortico-cortical information transfer in epileptic patients under sevoflurane anaesthesia.
  2. Characterization of low back pain-related activities in chronic low back pain patients.
  3. Attenuation of reward and descending pain modulatory system activities in chronic low back pain patients.
  4. Obtundation of offset analgesia response in chronic pain patients and its cerebral correlates revealed by fMRI.
  5. Insular cortical atrophy and its association with dysfunctional reward network in chronic pain patients.
  6. Atrophy of pain-related networks is associated with attenuated connectivity of the descending pain modulatory system in chronic low back pain patients.
  7. Chronic pain patients show decreased white matter integrity in proximity to the cingulate cortex.



  • Attenuation of cortical activity triggering descending pain inhibition in chronic low back pain patients: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study. J Anesth 2017; DOI: 10.1007/s00540-017-2343-1
  • Dysfunction of nucleus accumbens is associated with psychiatric problems in patients with chronic low back pain – a functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Spine 2016; DOI: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000001930
  • Mining the hidden dysrhythmia – can machines get smarter at defining the anaesthetised state? Anaesthesia 70:1338-41, 2015
  • Memory and awareness in anaesthesia. Br J Anaesth 2015; DOI: 10.1093/bja/aev224
  • Deep hypnosis as a sign of “imbalance” in balanced anesthesia. Anesth Analg 2010; 110:663-5
  • Augmented cerebral activation by lumbar mechanical stimulus in chronic low back pain patients: an FMRI study. Spine 2009; 34:2431-6
  • The cross-modal interaction between pain-related and saccade-related cerebral activation: a preliminary study by event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging. Anesth Analg 2005; 101:449-56
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging explained for pain research and medicine. Reg Anesth Pain Med 2002; 27:68-71
  • Early decay of pain-related cerebral activation in functional magnetic resonance imaging: comparison with visual and motor tasks. Anesthesiology 96:35-44, 2002
  • Use of positron emission tomography to measure brain activity responses to fentanyl analgesia. Curr Rev Pain 1999; 3:359-66
  • Effect of xenon on central nervous system electrical activity during sevoflurane anaesthesia in cats: comparison with nitrous oxide. Br J Anaeth 1998; 80:628-33
  • The effect of xenon on spinal dorsal horn neurons: a comparison with nitrous oxide. Anesth Analg 1997; 84:1372-6
  • Halothane and diazepam inhibit ketamine-induced c-fos expression in the rat cingulate cortex. Anesthesiology 1996; 85:874-82
  • Sevoflurane, enflurane and isoflurane have no persistent postanaesthetic effects on the central nervous system in cats. Br J Anaesth 1996; 76:721-5
  • The cerebral cortex origin of enflurane-induced generalized seizure in cats. 1994; 79:713-8
Posted in Speakers.