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First Department of Anatomy

Lecture overview

In 1952, the number of Lecture of Anatomy was increased to two. Professor Nobuo Shimizu was appointed to be the first professor of the First Lecture of Anatomy, followed by Professor Yoshitoshi Handa, Professor Masataka Shiino, Professor Yoshihiro Tsuruo. Takeshi Ueyama, who was an associate professor, was promoted to professor in November 2015 and has been in charge of our lecture.

The First Department of Anatomy provides students in first through third grade with education in the structure of human body, which is the base for medical education and research. In terms of research, we conduct a broad range of research in stress symptoms, from psychological and physiological stress at macro levels to oxidative stress at the micro and molecular levels. Furthermore, we conduct research to reveal the intracerebral mechanism of patients with “tinnitus” and to develop an innovative therapy in cooperation with the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Department of Neuropsychiatry, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Department of Radiology, and First department of Physiology. In addition, we develop drugs to treat nonviral hepatitis, such as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), using a drug repositioning , and a new bone metabolism marker with the Second department of Internal Medicine. On the basis of clinical issues at the affiliated hospital, we actively work on the acquisition of intellectual property rights and collaboration among industry, government, and academia.

Education overview

As medical school education, we teach Medicine in General (Structures and Functions), Introduction to the Human Body in the first year of medical school. In the second year, we aim to have the students acquire medical knowledge related to macroscopic anatomy, histology, and embryology to understand the relationship of human body structure to its function. This way, students can provide accurate diagnoses and treatment of diseases in clinical practice by becoming experts of the normal structure of the human body and the function of the human body from the combined lecture of anatomy and physiology. Our education content includes lectures and training in Splanchnology, Osteology, Desmology, and Sarcology, lectures in Embryology, training in Human Body System Anatomy (teaching every other year), and Basic Medicine Problem-Based Learning (PBL). In the third year, students are assigned to receive basic training and conduct research related to the theme of each research room.  For graduate school education, we teach the Introduction to Human Body Structure and Function as one of the common subjects.  In the graduate program, we widely accept students from clinical departments and seek themes that appeal to all of us and develop experimental systems to solve issues of the theme.

Research overview

First Lecture of Anatomy uses various approaches to understand stress symptoms. In general, the term “stress” makes us imagine emotional stress caused by psychological pressure; however, there are other types of stress including physiological or pathological stress, such as diet restriction or organ excision, and oxidative stress that is caused by active oxygen at molecular levels. Development of psychiatric disorders caused by excessive or unnecessary stress, such as depression, is well known. However, we created an animal model with “stress cardiomyopathy,” a heart failure symptom, with a psychiatric stress load, and have clarified the effectiveness of catecholamine receptor antagonists using the animal model.

Depression is caused by psychiatric stress, and its mechanism is considered to be associated with insufficient monoamine and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). The amygdala and prefrontal areas are considered to control depressive behaviors.  However, the cerebellum is now considered to be the brain region to control depressive behaviors, a finding by advanced image analysis methods, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT). We analyzed the changes in gene expression in the cerebellum of animals with more depressive behaviors than average and have found changes in gene expression, mainly the reduced development of the growth hormone gene.

The pathology of tinnitus is yet to be elucidated. Although acoustic therapy and cognitive behavior therapy have improved symptoms in some patients, there is no innovative therapy available. In our research room, we analyzed the cerebral blood flow in patients with tinnitus using brain imaging diagnostic methods with fMRI and SPECT and have revealed the changes in cerebral blood flow specific to tinnitus, which we reported in a scientific literature.  Currently, we conduct clinical research to develop therapies for tinnitus based on these changes specific to tinnitus.

Lansoprazole is used to treat gastric ulcer. Apart from its proton-pump inhibitory effect, lansoprazole induces the expression of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), an antioxidant stress protein, in the small intestines. However, we have found out that lansoprazole induces the expression of NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), a transcription factor to control the expression of HO-1, in the liver and increases the expression of antioxidant stress protein, including HO-1. On the basis of this mechanism, an anti-inflammatory activity was expected. We analyzed the anti-inflammatory effect using models of drug-induced acute hepatitis and NASH, which has revealed an anti-inflammatory activity through the increased Nrf2 expression (patent-pending).

Gastrectomy is performed to treat gastric cancer; however, development of osteomalacia, which results in bone brittleness, is reported after surgery in some patients. For a long time, the cause of this condition was considered to be the malabsorption of vitamin D after gastrectomy. In our research room, the measurement of blood vitamin D level in rats that had undergone gastrectomy showed similar results. However, the technological innovation in recent years made it possible to measure a trace amount of activated vitamin D in rats that had undergone gastrectomy, and we have found that vitamin D level after gastrectomy is increased. Furthermore, image analysis of bone metabolism has revealed the activations of both osteoblast and osteoclast after the surgery, a finding that cannot be observed in osteomalacia.

First Department of Anatomy
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