Hirotaka Nagai

Toyo University, Tōkyō, Japan

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Publications (24)85.92 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Due to the formerly widespread use of asbestos, malignant mesothelioma (MM) is increasingly frequent worldwide. MM is classified into epithelioid (EM), sarcomatoid (SM), and biphasic subtypes. SM is less common than EM but is recognized as the most aggressive type of MM, and these patients have a poor prognosis. To identify genes responsible for the aggressiveness of SM, we induced EM and SM in rats using asbestos and compared their transcriptomes. Based on the results, we focused on connective tissue growth factor (Ctgf), whose expression was significantly increased in SM compared with EM; EM itself exhibited an increased expression of Ctgf compared with normal mesothelium. Particularly in SM, Ctgf was a major regulator of MM proliferation and invasion, through activation of the β-catenin-TCF/LEF signaling pathway, which was autocrine and formed a positive feedback loop via LRP6 as a receptor for secreted Ctgf. High Ctgf expression also played a role in the epithelial-mesenchymal transition in MM. Furthermore, Ctgf is a novel serum biomarker, both for early diagnosis and determining the MM prognosis in rats. These data link Ctgf to SM through the LRP6/GSK3β/β-catenin/TCF/Ctgf autocrine axis and suggest Ctgf as a therapeutic target.
    The Journal of Pathology 05/2014; · 7.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Due to the formerly widespread use of asbestos, malignant mesothelioma (MM) is increasingly frequent worldwide. MM is classified into epithelioid (EM), sarcomatoid (SM), and biphasic subtypes. SM is less common than EM but is recognized as the most aggressive type of MM, and these patients have a poor prognosis. To identify genes responsible for the aggressiveness of SM, we induced EM and SM in rats using asbestos and compared their transcriptomes. Based on the results, we focused on connective tissue growth factor (Ctgf), whose expression was significantly increased in SM compared with EM; EM itself exhibited an increased expression of Ctgf compared with normal mesothelium. Particularly in SM, Ctgf was a major regulator of MM proliferation and invasion, through activation of the β-catenin-TCF/LEF signaling pathway, which was autocrine and formed a positive feedback loop via LRP6 as a receptor for secreted Ctgf. High Ctgf expression also played a role in the epithelial-mesenchymal transition in MM. Furthermore, Ctgf is a novel serum biomarker, both for early diagnosis and determining the MM prognosis in rats. These data link Ctgf to SM through the LRP6/GSK3β/β-catenin/TCF/Ctgf autocrine axis and suggest Ctgf as a therapeutic target.
    The Journal of Pathology 05/2014; · 7.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Asbestos was abundantly used in industry during the last century. Currently, asbestos confers a heavy social burden due to an increasing number of patients with malignant mesothelioma (MM), which develops after a long incubation period. Many studies have been conducted on the effects of the asbestos types that were most commonly used for commercial applications. However, there are few studies describing the effects of the less common types, or minor asbestos. We performed a rat carcinogenesis study using Japanese tremolite and Afghan anthophyllite. Whereas more than 50% of tremolite fibers had a diameter of < 500 nm, only a small fraction of anthophyllite fibers had a diameter of < 500 nm. We intraperitoneally injected 1 or 10 mg of asbestos into F1 Fischer-344/Brown-Norway rats. In half of the animals, repeated intraperitoneal injections of nitrilotriacetate (NTA), an iron chelator to promote Fenton reaction, were performed to evaluate the potential involvement of iron overload. Tremolite induced MM with a high incidence (96% with 10 mg; 52% with 1 mg), and males were more susceptible than females. Histology was confirmed using immunohistochemistry, and most MMs were characterized as the sarcomatoid or biphasic subtype. Unexpectedly NTA showed an inhibitory effect in females. In contrast, anthophyllite induced no MM after an observation period of 550 days. The results suggest that the carcinogenicity of anthophyllite is weaker than formerly reported, whereas that of tremolite is as potent as major asbestos as compared with our previous data.
    Nagoya journal of medical science 02/2014; 76(1-2):149-60.
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    ABSTRACT: Asbestos was used worldwide in huge quantities in the past century. However, because of the unexpected carcinogenicity to mesothelial cells with an extremely long incubation period, many countries face this long-lasting social problem. Mesothelioma is often diagnosed in an advanced stage, for which no effective therapeutic protocols are yet established. We previously reported based on animal experiments that the major pathology in asbestos-induced mesothelial carcinogenesis is local iron overload. Here we undertook to find an effective strategy to prevent, delay or lower the malignant potential of mesothelioma during asbestos-induced carcinogenesis. We used intraperitoneal injections of crocidolite to rats. We performed a 16-week study to seek the maximal tolerated intervention for iron reduction via oral deferasirox administration or intensive phlebotomy. Splenic iron deposition was significantly decreased with either method, and we found that Perls' iron staining in spleen is a good indicator for iron reduction. We injected a total of 10 mg crocidolite at the age of 6 weeks, and the preventive measures were via repeated oral administration of 25-50 mg/kg/day deferasirox or weekly to bimonthly phlebotomy of 4-10 ml/kg/day. The animals were observed till 110 weeks. Deferasirox administration significantly increased the fraction of less malignant epithelioid subtype. Although we found a slightly prolonged survival in deferasirox-treated female rats, larger sample size and refinement of the current protocol are necessary to deduce the cancer-preventive effects of deferasirox. Still, our results suggest deferasirox serves as a potential preventive strategy in people already exposed to asbestos via iron reduction.
    Cancer Prevention Research 09/2013; · 4.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) have attracted public attention not only for their potential applications in engineering and materials science but also for possible environmental risks. MWCNTs share similar properties with asbestos, a definite human carcinogen causing malignant mesothelioma (MM), in that they are both biopersistent thin fibers with a high aspect ratio. Certain types of MWCNTs do induce MM in animal experiments. Though there are many different types of MWCNTs awaiting use in industry, there is little evidence about what types of MWCNTs present a high risk for MM in vivo. We have previously shown that the diameter of MWCNTs is one of the critical factors for mesothelial injury, which eventually leads to MM. Because of the extensive commercial use of MWCNTs, the properties of MWCNTs that determine carcinogenic activity should be clarified. Here we report that a high dose (10 mg) of a tangled form of pristine MWCNT (with a diameter of 15 nm) did not induce MM after intraperitoneal administration in rats, which were followed for up to 3 years after injection. This observation strengthens our previous finding that the rigidity, diameter, length and surface properties of MWCNTs are important factors in MM induction in vivo.
    Pathology International 09/2013; 63(9):457-62. · 1.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Like many other human cancers, the development of malignant mesothelioma is closely associated with a chronic inflammatory condition. Both macrophages and mesothelial cells play crucial roles in the inflammatory response caused by asbestos exposure. Here, we show that adipocytes can also contribute to asbestos-induced inflammation through dysregulated adipocytokine production. 3T3-L1 preadipocytes were differentiated into mature adipocytes prior to use. These cells took up asbestos fibers (chrysotile, crocidolite and amosite) but were more resistant to asbestos-induced injury than macrophages and mesothelial cells. Expression microarray analysis followed by reverse-transcription PCR revealed that adipocytes respond directly to asbestos exposure with an increased production of pro-inflammatory adipocytokines (e.g. MCP-1) while the production of anti-inflammatory adipocytokines (e.g. adiponectin) is suppressed. This was confirmed in epididymal fat pad of mice after intraperitoneal injection of asbestos fibers. Such dysregulated adipocytokine production favors the establishment of a pro-inflammatory environment. Furthermore, MCP-1 marginally promoted the growth of MeT-5A mesothelial cells and significantly enhanced the wound healing of Y-MESO-8A and Y-MESO-8D human mesothelioma cells. Our results suggest that increased levels of adipocytokines, such as MCP-1, can potentially contribute to the promotion of mesothelial carcinogenesis through the enhanced recruitment of inflammatory cells as well as a direct growth and migration stimulatory effect on mesothelial and mesothelioma cells. Taken together, our findings support a potential cancer-promoting role of adipocytes in asbestos-induced mesothelial carcinogenesis.
    Carcinogenesis 08/2013; · 5.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Malignant mesothelioma (MM), which is associated with asbestos exposure, is one of the most deadly tumors in humans. Early MM is concealed in the serosal cavities and lacks specific clinical symptoms. For better treatment, early detection and prognostic markers are necessary. Recently, CD146 and insulin-like growth factor 2 mRNA-binding protein 3 (IMP3) were reported as possible positive markers of MM to distinguish from reactive mesothelia in humans. However, their application on MM of different species and its impact on survival remain to be elucidated. To disclose the utility of these molecules as early detection and prognostic markers of MM, we injected chrysotile or crocidolite intraperitoneally to rats, thus obtaining 26 peritoneal MM and establishing 11 cell lines. We immunostained CD146 and IMP3 using paraffin-embedded tissues and cell blocks and found CD146 and IMP3 expression in 58% (15/26) and 65% (17/26) of MM, respectively, but not in reactive mesothelia. There was no significant difference in both immunostainings for overexpression among the three histological subtypes of MM and the expression of CD146 and IMP3 was proportionally associated. Furthermore, the overexpression of CD146 and/or IMP3 was proportionally correlated with shortened survival. These results suggest that CD146 and IMP3 are useful diagnostic and prognostic markers of MM.
    Cancer Science 08/2013; 104(8). · 3.48 Impact Factor
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    Cancer Science 08/2013; 104(8):Augustcover. · 3.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Exposure to asbestos fibers increases the risk of mesothelioma in humans. One hypothetical carcinogenic mechanism is that asbestos fibers may directly induce mutations in mesothelial cells. Although the uptake of asbestos fibers by mesothelial cells is recognized, methods for the quantification of the uptake have not been well established. In the present study, we evaluated two distinct methods, using crocidolite fibers and MeT5A mesothelial cells. One method is histological evaluation using the cell-block technique, which allows for the direct cross-sectional observation of cells and fibers. We found the bright field observation with ×1000 magnification (oil-immersion) of the sample with Kernechtrot staining was most suitable for this purpose. The other method is flow cytometric analysis, which permits the evaluation of a much larger number of cells. We observed that the side scatter (SSC) increased with the intracellular fibers, and that the "mean SSC ratio (treated/control)" was useful for quantification. We could collect the cells with abundant internalized crocidolite fibers by sorting. Results of the two methodologies were correlated well in the experiments. The quantities of internalized fibers increased with incubation time and loaded dosage, but they were inversely associated with cellular density in culture.
    Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition 07/2013; 53(1):27-35. · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mesothelial cells, which have diverse roles in physiology and pathology, constitute the mesothelium along with connective tissue and the basement membrane; the mesothelium serves to shield the somatic cavities. After mesothelial injury, mesothelial cells undergo tissue recovery. However, the mechanism of mesothelial regeneration remains poorly understood. In this study, we used confocal time-lapse microscopy to demonstrate that transformed mesothelial cells (MeT5A) and mouse peritoneal mesothelial cells can randomly migrate between cells in cell culture and in ex vivo tissue culture, respectively. Moreover, peritoneal mesothelial cells changed their morphology from a flattened shape to a cuboidal one prior to the migration. Conversely, MDCKII epithelial cells forming tight cell-cell contacts with one another do not alter the arrangement of adjacent cells during movement. Our evidence complements the current hypotheses of mesothelial regeneration and suggests that certain types of differentiated mesothelial cells undergo morphological changes before initiating migration to repair injured sites.
    Scientific Reports 01/2013; 3:1144. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The inhalation of asbestos is a risk factor for the development of malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer. Based on the broad surface area of asbestos fibers and their ability to enter the cytoplasm and nuclei of cells, it was hypothesized that proteins that adsorb onto the fiber surface play a role in the cytotoxicity and carcinogenesis of asbestos fibers. However, little is known about which proteins adsorb onto asbestos. Previously, we systematically identified asbestos-interacting proteins and classified them into eight sub-categories: chromatin/nucleotide/RNA-binding proteins, ribosomal proteins, cytoprotective proteins, cytoskeleton-associated proteins, histones and hemoglobin. Here, we report an adsorption profile of proteins for the three commercially used asbestos compounds: chrysotile, crocidolite and amosite. We quantified the amounts of adsorbed proteins by analyzing the silver-stained gels of sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis with ImageJ software, using the bands for amosite as a standard. We found that histones were most adsorptive to crocidolite and that chromatin-binding proteins were most adsorptive to chrysotile. The results suggest that chrysotile and crocidolite directly interact with chromatin structure through different mechanisms. Furthermore, RNA-binding proteins preferably interacted with chrysotile, suggesting that chrysotile may interfere with transcription and translation. Our results provide novel evidence demonstrating that the specific molecular interactions leading to carcinogenesis are different between chrysotile and crocidolite.
    Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition 11/2012; 51(3):221-6. · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Iron overload has been associated with carcinogenesis in humans. Intraperitoneal administration of ferric nitrilotriacetate initiates a Fenton reaction in renal proximal tubules of rodents that ultimately leads to a high incidence of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) after repeated treatments. We performed high-resolution microarray comparative genomic hybridization to identify characteristics in the genomic profiles of this oxidative stress-induced rat RCCs. The results revealed extensive large-scale genomic alterations with a preference for deletions. Deletions and amplifications were numerous and sometimes fragmented, demonstrating that a Fenton reaction is a cause of such genomic alterations in vivo. Frequency plotting indicated that two of the most commonly altered loci corresponded to a Cdkn2a/2b deletion and a Met amplification. Tumor sizes were proportionally associated with Met expression and/or amplification, and clustering analysis confirmed our results. Furthermore, we developed a procedure to compare whole genomic patterns of the copy number alterations among different species based on chromosomal syntenic relationship. Patterns of the rat RCCs showed the strongest similarity to the human RCCs among five types of human cancers, followed by human malignant mesothelioma, an iron overload-associated cancer. Therefore, an iron-dependent Fenton chemical reaction causes large-scale genomic alterations during carcinogenesis, which may result in distinct genomic profiles. Based on the characteristics of extensive genome alterations in human cancer, our results suggest that this chemical reaction may play a major role during human carcinogenesis. Copyright: ß 2012 Akatsuka et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Funding: This study was supported by Princess Takamatsu Cancer Research Fund (10-24213); a Grant-in-Aid for Cancer Research from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan; and a Grant-in Aid from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
    PLoS ONE 08/2012; · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Exposure to asbestos is a risk for malignant mesothelioma (MM) in humans. Among the commercially used types of asbestos (chrysotile, crocidolite, and amosite), the carcinogenicity of chrysotile is not fully appreciated. Here, we show that all three asbestos types similarly induced MM in the rat peritoneal cavity and that chrysotile caused the earliest mesothelioma development with a high fraction of sarcomatoid histology. The pathogenesis of chrysotile-induced mesothelial carcinogenesis was closely associated with iron overload: repeated administration of an iron chelator, nitrilotriacetic acid, which promotes the Fenton reaction, significantly reduced the period required for carcinogenesis; massive iron deposition was found in the peritoneal organs with high serum ferritin; and homozygous deletion of the CDKN2A/2B/ARF tumour suppressor genes, the most frequent genomic alteration in human MM and in iron-induced rodent carcinogenesis, was observed in 92.6% of the cases studied with array-based comparative genomic hybridization. The induced rat MM cells revealed high expression of mesoderm-specific transcription factors, Dlx5 and Hand1, and showed an iron regulatory profile of active iron uptake and utilization. These data indicate that chrysotile is a strong carcinogen when exposed to mesothelia, acting through the induction of local iron overload. Therefore, an intervention to remove local excess iron might be a strategy to prevent MM after asbestos exposure. Copyright © 2012 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    The Journal of Pathology 08/2012; 228(3):366-77. · 7.59 Impact Factor
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    Hirotaka Nagai, Shinya Toyokuni
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    ABSTRACT: The emergence of nanotechnology represents an important milestone, as it opens the way to a broad spectrum of applications for nanomaterials in the fields of engineering, industry and medicine. One example of nanomaterials that have the potential for widespread use is carbon nanotubes, which have a tubular structure made of graphene sheets. However, there have been concerns that they may pose a potential health risk due to their similarities to asbestos, namely their high biopersistence and needle-like structure. We recently found that despite these similarities, carbon nanotubes and asbestos differ in certain aspects, such as their mechanism of entry into mesothelial cells. In the study, we showed that non-functionalized, multi-walled carbon nanotubes enter mesothelial cells by directly piercing through the cell membrane in a diameter- and rigidity-dependent manner, whereas asbestos mainly enters these cells through the process of endocytosis, which is independent of fiber diameter. In this review, we discuss the key differences, as well as similarities, between asbestos fibers and carbon nanotubes. We also summarize previous reports regarding the mechanism of carbon nanotube entry into non-phagocytic cells. As the entry of fibers into mesothelial cells is a crucial step in mesothelial carcinogenesis, we believe that a comprehensive study on the differences by which carbon nanotubes and asbestos fibers enter into non-phagocytic cells will provide important clues for the safer manufacture of carbon nanotubes through strict regulation on fiber characteristics, such as diameter, surface properties, length and rigidity.
    Cancer Science 05/2012; 103(8):1378-90. · 3.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) have the potential for widespread applications in engineering and materials science. However, because of their needle-like shape and high durability, concerns have been raised that MWCNTs may induce asbestos-like pathogenicity. Although recent studies have demonstrated that MWCNTs induce various types of reactivities, the physicochemical features of MWCNTs that determine their cytotoxicity and carcinogenicity in mesothelial cells remain unclear. Here, we showed that the deleterious effects of nonfunctionalized MWCNTs on human mesothelial cells were associated with their diameter-dependent piercing of the cell membrane. Thin MWCNTs (diameter ∼ 50 nm) with high crystallinity showed mesothelial cell membrane piercing and cytotoxicity in vitro and subsequent inflammogenicity and mesotheliomagenicity in vivo. In contrast, thick (diameter ∼ 150 nm) or tangled (diameter ∼ 2-20 nm) MWCNTs were less toxic, inflammogenic, and carcinogenic. Thin and thick MWCNTs similarly affected macrophages. Mesotheliomas induced by MWCNTs shared homozygous deletion of Cdkn2a/2b tumor suppressor genes, similar to mesotheliomas induced by asbestos. Thus, we propose that different degrees of direct mesothelial injury by thin and thick MWCNTs are responsible for the extent of inflammogenicity and carcinogenicity. This work suggests that control of the diameter of MWCNTs could reduce the potential hazard to human health.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2011; 108(49):E1330-8. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Asbestos is a potent carcinogen associated with increased risks of malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer in humans. Although the mechanism of carcinogenesis remains elusive, the physicochemical characteristics of asbestos play a role in the progression of asbestos-induced diseases. Among these characteristics, a high capacity to adsorb and accommodate biomolecules on its abundant surface area has been linked to cellular and genetic toxicity. Several previous studies identified asbestos-interacting proteins. Here, with the use of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry, we systematically identified proteins from various lysates that adsorbed to the surface of commercially used asbestos and classified them into the following groups: chromatin/nucleotide/RNA-binding proteins, ribosomal proteins, cytoprotective proteins, cytoskeleton-associated proteins, histones and hemoglobin. The surfaces of crocidolite and amosite, two iron-rich types of asbestos, caused more protein scissions and oxidative modifications than that of chrysotile by in situ-generated 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal. In contrast, we confirmed the intense hemolytic activity of chrysotile and found that hemoglobin attached to chrysotile, but not silica, can work as a catalyst to induce oxidative DNA damage. This process generates 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine and thus corroborates the involvement of iron in the carcinogenicity of chrysotile. This evidence demonstrates that all three types of asbestos adsorb DNA and specific proteins, providing a niche for oxidative modification via catalytic iron. Therefore, considering the affinity of asbestos for histones/DNA and the internalization of asbestos into mesothelial cells, our results suggest a novel hypothetical mechanism causing genetic alterations during asbestos-induced carcinogenesis.
    Cancer Science 09/2011; 102(12):2118-25. · 3.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several types of fibrous stone called asbestos have been an unexpected cause of human cancer in the history. This form of mineral is considered precious in that they are heat-, friction-, and acid-resistant, are obtained easily from mines, and can be modified to any form with many industrial merits. However, it became evident that the inspiration of asbestos causes a rare cancer called malignant mesothelioma. Because of the long incubation period, the peak year for malignant mesothelioma is expected to be 2025 in Japan. Thus, it is necessary to elucidate the mechanisms of asbestos-induced mesothelial carcinogenesis. In this review, we summarize the cutting edge results of our 5-year project funded by a MEXT grant, in which local iron deposition and the characteristics of mesothelial cells are the key issues.
    Nippon Eiseigaku Zasshi (Japanese Journal of Hygiene) 05/2011; 66(3):562-7.
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    ABSTRACT: By using a rat model of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) induced by ferric nitrilotriacetate (Fe-NTA), this study performed genome-wide analysis to identify target genes during carcinogenesis. It screened for genes with decreased expression in RCCs, with simultaneous loss of heterozygosity, eventually to focus on the fibulin-5 (fbln5) gene. Oxidative damage via Fe-NTA markedly increased Fbln5 in the proximal tubules. RCCs presented lower levels of Fbln5. However, a fraction of RCCs presenting pulmonary metastasis revealed significantly higher levels of Fbln5 than those without metastasis, accompanied by immunopositivity of RCC cells and myofibroblast proliferation. Experiments revealed that RCC cell lines showed lower expression of fbln5 than its non-transformed counterpart NRK52E, but that fbln5 transfection to RCC cell lines changed neither proliferation nor migration/invasion. The data suggest that Fbln5 plays a role not only in the tissue repair and remodelling after renal tubular oxidative damage but also in RCC metastasis, presumably as a cytokine.
    Free Radical Research 10/2010; 45(2):211-20. · 3.28 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

215 Citations
85.92 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2014
    • Toyo University
      Tōkyō, Japan
  • 2010–2014
    • Nagoya University
      • Graduate School of Medicine
      Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
  • 2008–2012
    • Kyoto University
      • Graduate School of Medicine / Faculty of Medicine
      Kyoto, Kyoto-fu, Japan