Research area

Section of Host Defences, Division of Bioscience Unit

Outline of the research

Our research focuses on understanding the biological defence system including immune response, inflammation, and cellular metabolism, and its role in pathological diseases. We mainly study the role of the biological defence system in the protection or progression of diseases, and the effects of natural medicines including Kampo medicines on the biological defence system.

Research Projects

Cancer Biology and Immunology: Our research unit studies the control of immunological diseases (cancer, inflammation, allergy) focusing on innate immune cells, which are important for the biological defense system. In particular, we study the biology of natural killer (NK) cells and their importance in the control of immunological diseases. Furthermore, we study the role of the immune response in cancer progression using annimal models and in vivo imaging, and the effects of traditional medicines n the control of immunological diseases.

Nutritional Biochemistry: Our recent investigations using experimental animals have revealed that the administration of Wakanyaku influenced many aspects of intestinal pathophysiology. Intraluminal bile acids (BA) and non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) are the potent ligands for the receptors eliciting the formation of peptide hormones in the intestinal epithelial cells, which are involved in the control of biodefense systems. Thus, we hypothesized that the above-mentioned actions of Wakanyaku are mediated by the modulation of the metabolism of BA and NEFA in the intestinal lumen. We are aiming to elucidate a novel mechanism of action of Wakanyaku through the comprehensive analysis of intraluminal BA and FFA and relating signaling responses in the intestinal epithelial cells.

Researcher in charge