Radioisotopes have been widely used in the research of life science, due to their high sensitivities for detection. They were used as tracers to monitor reactions of biological materials in vitro, or to clarify the physicochemical characteristics of bioactive materials, thereby contributed significantly to advances in life science. Recently, chemiluminescence or fluorescence techniques took some places of radioisotopes, thus our radioisotope laboratory has completed its mission to support researches of life science and abolished in September, 2015.
Regulation of intestinal innate immunity by Paneth cell α-defensins
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are gene-encoded major effector molecules in innate immunity. Among them, α-defensins have been known to have potent microbicidal activity, broad spectrum and less resistance. Our research projects aim to understand innate immune system in the intestine by focusing on Paneth cells and their α-defensins.
We have revealed that Paneth cells α-defensins elicit potent bactericidal activities against pathogenic bacteria, whereas have no or very weak bactericidal activities against certain commensal bacteria, suggesting symbiotic effects of the AMPs. We have revealed new aspects of their functions in relation to such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), obesity and graft-versus-host disease. By bringing basic science in innate immunity, inflammation, regeneration and nutrition absorption to bedside, we will understand real association of‘ food and health’ and also contribute to patients with intractable diseases.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
The Orthopedic Research Laboratory in Hokkaido University is dedicated to exploring the scientific basis of musculoskeletal diseases and to developing new therapies for the improvement of musculoskeletal function.
Research projects in the laboratory focus on the cellular and molecular biology of bone, cartilage and the nervous system, biomechanics, biochemistry, pharmacology, and tissue engineering. One of the unique approaches to musculoskeletal diseases and treatment in the laboratory is “Glycobiological Research” on bone, cartilage, and the nervous system.
One of our main projects is development of a novel scaffold material for cartilage tissue engineering. We demonstrated the feasibility of acellular cartilage tissue regeneration using our material in a large animal model. Currently, clinical trial for cartilage repair using our material is ongoing since last fall.
To clarify the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis and metabolic bone diseases such as osteoporosis, we have been performing in vivo and in vitro studies regarding the function of glycans and their interacting molecules using glycomics analysis, genetically engineered mice lacking glycosyltransferases and glycan receptors, and drugs blocking functions of glycans. Our studies demonstrated that the diversity and complexity of glycoconjugates and their interacting molecules play important roles in the development of musculoskeletal disorders.
Therefore, our glycobiological studies are expected to provide new insights into the pathogenesis of musculoskeletal disorders as well as to help developing new therapeutic options and diagnostic tools.