Takeshi Nikawa

The University of Tokushima, Tokusima, Tokushima, Japan

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Publications (110)418.77 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Muscle atrophy is a complex process that occurs as a consequence of various stress events. Muscle atrophy-associated genes (atrogenes) such as atrogin-1/MAFbx and MuRF-1 are induced early in the atrophy process, and the increase in their expression precedes the loss of muscle weight. Although antioxidative nutrients suppress atrogene expression in skeletal muscle cells, the inhibitory effects of flavonoids on inflammation-induced atrogin-1/MAFbx expression have not been clarified. Here, we investigated the inhibitory effects of flavonoids on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced atrogin-1/MAFbx expression. We examined whether nine flavonoids belonging to six flavonoid categories inhibited atrogin-1/MAFbx expression in mouse C2C12 myotubes. Two major flavones, apigenin and luteolin, displayed potent inhibitory effects on atrogin-1/MAFbx expression. The pretreatment with apigenin and luteolin significantly prevented C2C12 myotube diameter caused by LPS stimulation. Importantly, the pretreatment of LPS-stimulated myoblasts with these flavones significantly inhibited LPS-induced JNK phosphorylation in C2C12 myotubes, resulting in the significant suppression of atrogin-1/MAFbx promoter activity. These results suggest that apigenin and luteolin, prevent LPS-mediated atrogin-1/MAFbx expression through the inhibition of the JNK signaling pathway in C2C12 myotubes. Thus, these flavones, apigenin and luteolin, may be promising agents to prevent LPS-induced muscle atrophy.
    Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology 01/2015; · 0.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to determine whether osteoactivin attenuated skeletal muscle fibrosis caused by distraction osteogenesis. Tibial osteotomies were performed on wild-type and osteoactivin-transgenic (OA-Tg) mice, and tibiae were distracted for 2 weeks. Ankle plantar flexion torque and the gastrocnemius muscles were analyzed. The amount and area of collagenous tissue and the passive torque were reduced in the OA-Tg group at 8 weeks after osteotomy. Transcript levels of matrix metalloprotease (mmp)-3 and MMP-9 were upregulated, and MMP-3 and MMP-9 proteins were increased in the OA-Tg group. Osteoactivin-mediated increase in MMPs may attenuate skeletal muscle fibrosis.
    Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics B 11/2014; · 0.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Insulin like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) signaling stimulates muscle growth as well as suppresses muscle protein breakdown. In atrophied muscles, ubiquitin ligase, Cbl-b, increases and it stimulates the ubiquitination and degradation of IRS-1, an intermediate in IGF-1 singnaling pathway, resulting in IGF-1 resistance. In this study, we evaluate the efficacy of atelocollagen (ATCOL) mediated application of anti-ubiquitination oligopeptide that inhibits the interaction between Cbl-b and IRS-1 into starved C2C12 myotubes and denervated tibialis anterior muscle of C57BL/6 wild-type mice. Method: After serum-starvation for 24 hours, the protein level of IRS-1 and Akt phosphorylation were examined by immunoblotting analysis. The tibialis anterior muscles were dissected 10 days after the denervation for histometric analyses. Result: Although the amount of IRS-1 protein decreased in starved myotubes, oligopeptide inhibited the degradation of IRS-1 does-dependently. Moreover, oligopeptide significantly inhibited the decrease of Akt phosphorylation in starved myotubes. In addition, sectional area of denervated muscle fibers treated with oligopeptide was significantly larger compared to non-treated denervated muscles. Conclusion: These results suggest that ATCOL mediated application of anti-ubiquitination oligopeptide could be an effective tool for therapeutic use in muscular atrophy diseases.
    2014 IADR/PER Congress; 09/2014
  • Arisa Ochi, Kanako Kitahata, Takeshi Nikawa
    Seikagaku. The Journal of Japanese Biochemical Society 06/2014; 86(3):367-71. · 0.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Obesity causes type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases by inducing systemic insulin resistance. It is now recognized that obesity is related to chronic low-grade inflammation in adipose tissue. Specifically, activated immune cells infiltrate adipose tissue and cause inflammation. There is increasing evidence that activated macrophages accumulate in the hypertrophied adipose tissue of rodents and humans and induce systemic insulin resistance by secreting inflammatory cytokines. Accordingly, a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying macrophage activation in adipose tissue will facilitate the development of new therapeutic strategies. Currently, little is known about the regulation of macrophage activation, although E3 ubiquitin ligase Casitas B-lineage lymphoma (Cbl)-b was identified recently as a novel negative regulator of macrophage activation in adipose tissue. Cbl-b, which is a suppressor of T- and B-cell activation, inhibits intracellular signal transduction by targeting some tyrosine kinases. Notably, preventing Cbl-b-mediated macrophage activation improves obesity-induced insulin resistance in mice. c-Cbl is another member of the Cbl family that is associated with insulin resistance in obesity. These reports suggest that Cbl-b and c-Cbl are potential therapeutic targets for treating obesity-induced insulin resistance. In this review, we focus on the importance of Cbl-b in macrophage activation in aging-induced and high-fat diet-induced obesity.
    Endocrine Journal 03/2014; · 2.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The activation of T cells is known to be accompanied by the temporary down-modulation of the T-cell receptor (TCR)/CD3 complex on the cell surface. Here we established a novel monoclonal antibody, Dow2, that temporarily induces down-modulation of the TCR/CD3 complex in mouse CD4+ T cells without activating T cells. Dow2 recognized the determinant on CD3ε; however, differences were observed in the binding mode between Dow2 and the agonistic anti-CD3ε Ab, 145–2C11. An injection of Dow2 in vivo resulted in T-cell anergy, and prolonged the survival of cardiac allografts without a marked increase in cytokine release. The phosphorylated forms of the signaling proteins PLC-γ1 and LAT in Dow2-induced anergic T cells were markedly decreased upon stimulation. However, the levels of phosphorylated LAT and PLCγ1 in Dow2-induced anergic T cells could be rescued in the presence of the proteasome inhibitor MG-132. These results suggest that proteasome-mediated degradation is involved in hypophosphorylated LAT and PLCγ1 in Dow2-induced anergic T cells. The novel CD3-specific Ab, Dow2, may provide us with a unique tool for inducing immunosuppression. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
    European Journal of Immunology 03/2014; · 4.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Celastrol (CEL) is known as a potent inducer of heat shock protein (HSP) in non-muscle cells and exhibits cytoprotective function and inhibitory effects on proteasome and glucocorticoid receptor activities. To investigate an anti-atrophic effect of CEL on skeletal muscle cells, C2C12 myotubes were treated with 150 μM dexamethasone (DEX) for 24 h and 1.5 μM CEL was added for the last 6 h during the 24h DEX treatment. Compared to the control, the myotube diameter was reduced by a factor of 0.30 by DEX, but CEL treatment almost abrogated the DEX-induced atrophy. CEL treatment also increased expression of HSP72 and phosphorylation of heat shock transcription factor 1 (p-HSF1) 11-fold and 3.4-fold, respectively, as well as accumulation of p-HSF1 in the nucleus. Furthermore, CEL treatment elevated activities of Akt1, p70/S6K and ERK1/2 2.0- to 4.4-fold whereas DEX had no effect on these signaling activities. Inhibition of Akt1 and ERK1/2 pathways by specific inhibitors confirmed CEL-induced anti-atrophic effect. Moreover, DEX-mediated downregulation of FoxO3 phosphorylation and upregulation of MuRF1 expression and proteasome activity were abrogated by CEL treatment. These results demonstrate a novel anti-atrophic function of CEL in muscle cells via both activation of protein anabolic signals and suppression of catabolic signaling activities.
    Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 06/2013; · 3.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Vascular endothelial growth factor-a (VEGF)-targeted therapies have become an important treatment for a number of human malignancies. The VEGF inhibitors are actually effective in several types of cancers, however, the benefits are transiently, and the vast majority of patients who initially respond to the therapies will develop resistance. One of possible mechanisms for the acquired resistance may be the direct effect(s) of VEGF inhibitors on tumor cells expressing VEGF receptors (VEGFR). Thus, we investigated here the direct effect of chronic VEGF inhibition on phenotype changes in human colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. METHODS: To chronically inhibit cancer cell-derived VEGF, human CRC cell lines (HCT116 and RKO) were chronically exposed (2 months) to an anti-VEGF monoclonal antibody (mAb) or were disrupted the Vegf gene (VEGF-KO). Effects of VEGF family members were blocked by treatment with a VEGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor (VEGFR-TKI). Hypoxia-induced apoptosis under VEGF inhibited conditions was measured by TUNEL assay. Spheroid formation ability was assessed using a 3-D spheroid cell culture system. RESULTS: Chronic inhibition of secreted/extracellular VEGF by an anti-VEGF mAb redundantly increased VEGF family member (PlGF, VEGFR1 and VEGFR2), induced a resistance to hypoxia-induced apoptosis, and increased spheroid formation ability. This apoptotic resistance was partially abrogated by a VEGFR-TKI, which blocked the compensate pathway consisted of VEGF family members, or by knockdown of Vegf mRNA, which inhibited intracellular function(s) of all Vegf gene products. Interestingly, chronic and complete depletion of all Vegf gene products by Vegf gene knockout further augmented these phenotypes in the compensate pathway-independent manner. These accelerated phenotypes were significantly suppressed by knockdown of hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha that was up-regulated in the VEGF-KO cell lines. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that chronic inhibition of tumor cell-derived VEGF accelerates tumor cell malignant phenotypes.
    BMC Cancer 05/2013; 13(1):229. · 3.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We reported previously the potential involvement of casitas B-cell lymphoma-b (Cbl-b) in aging-related murine insulin resistance. Since obesity also induces macrophage recruitment into adipose tissue, we elucidated here the role of Cbl-b in obesity-related insulin resistance. Cbl-b(+/+) and Cbl-b(-/-) mice were fed high-fat diet (HFD), then examined for obesity-related changes in insulin signaling. HFD caused recruitment of macrophages into adipose tissue and increased inflammatory reaction in Cbl-b(-/-) compared to Cbl-b(+/+) mice. Peritoneal macrophages from Cbl-b(-/-) mice and Cbl-b-overexpressing RAW264.7 macrophages were used to examine the direct effect of saturated fatty acids (FA) on macrophage activation. In macrophages, Cbl-b suppressed saturated FA-induced TLR4 signaling by ubiquitination and degradation of TLR4. The physiological role of Cbl-b in vivo was also examined by bone marrow transplantation (BMT) and Eritoran, a TLR4 antagonist. Hematopoietic cell-specific depletion of Cbl-b gene induced disturbed responses on insulin and glucose tolerance tests. Blockade of TLR4 signaling by Eritoran reduced fasting blood glucose and serum IL-6 levels in obese Cbl-b(-/-) mice. These results suggest that Cbl-b deficiency could exaggerates HFD-induced insulin resistance through saturated FA-mediated macrophage activation. Therefore, inhibition of TLR4 signaling is an attractive therapeutic strategy for treatment of obesity-related insulin resistance.
    Diabetes 01/2013; · 7.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Unhealthy eating behaviors increase the risk of metabolic diseases, but the underlying mechanisms are not fully elucidated. Because inflammation contributes to the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases, it is important to understand the effects of unhealthy eating on the inflammatory state. The objective of our present study was to address the effects of a fasting-refeeding regime, a model of irregular eating, on the hepatic inflammatory responses in mouse. The animals were fasted for 48 h and then refed either a standard or low-carbohydrate/high-fat diet. Inflammatory gene expression in the liver was then sequentially measured for the first 17 h after initiation of refeeding. To assess the roles of dietary carbohydrates and toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) in the refeeding-induced inflammatory changes, gene expression levels in mice refed only carbohydrates (α-corn starch and sucrose) at different doses and in TLR2-deficient mice refed a standard diet were also analyzed. Refeeding with a standard diet increased the liver expression of Tlr2, proinflammatory mediators (Cxcl10, Cxcl1, Cxcl2, Icam-1) and negative regulators of TLR-signaling (A20 and Atf3). These increases were attenuated in mice refed a low-carbohydrate/high-fat diet. Refeeding only α-corn starch and sucrose also increased the expression of these inflammatory pathway genes depending on the doses. TLR2 deficiency significantly attenuated the refeeding-induced increase in the liver expression of Cxcl10, Cxcl1, Icam-1 and A20. These findings suggest that an irregular eating behavior can elicit a liver inflammatory response, which is at least partly mediated by TLR2, and that dietary carbohydrates play critical roles in this process.
    The Journal of nutritional biochemistry 01/2013; · 4.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background. Unloading stress induces skeletal muscle atrophy. We have reported that Cbl-b ubiquitin ligase is a master regulator of unloading-associated muscle atrophy. The present study was designed to elucidate whether dietary soy glycinin protein prevents denervation-mediated muscle atrophy, based on the presence of inhibitory peptides against Cbl-b ubiquitin ligase in soy glycinin protein. Methods. Mice were fed either 20% casein diet, 20% soy protein isolate diet, 10% glycinin diet containing 10% casein, or 20% glycinin diet. One week later, the right sciatic nerve was cut. The wet weight, cross sectional area (CSA), IGF-1 signaling, and atrogene expression in hindlimb muscles were examined at 1, 3, 3.5, or 4 days after denervation. Results. 20% soy glycinin diet significantly prevented denervation-induced decreases in muscle wet weight and myofiber CSA. Furthermore, dietary soy protein inhibited denervation-induced ubiquitination and degradation of IRS-1 in tibialis anterior muscle. Dietary soy glycinin partially suppressed the denervation-mediated expression of atrogenes, such as MAFbx/atrogin-1 and MuRF-1, through the protection of IGF-1 signaling estimated by phosphorylation of Akt-1. Conclusions. Soy glycinin contains a functional inhibitory sequence against muscle-atrophy-associated ubiquitin ligase Cbl-b. Dietary soy glycinin protein significantly prevented muscle atrophy after denervation in mice.
    International Journal of Endocrinology 01/2013; 2013:907565. · 1.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Proinflammatory cytokines are factors that induce ubiquitin-proteasome-dependent proteolysis in skeletal muscle, causing muscle atrophy. Although isoflavones, as potent antioxidative nutrients, have been known to reduce muscle damage during the catabolic state, the non-antioxidant effects of isoflavones against muscle atrophy are not well known. Here we report on the inhibitory effects of isoflavones such as genistein and daidzein on muscle atrophy caused by tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α treatment. In C2C12 myotubes, TNF-α treatment markedly elevated the expression of the muscle-specific ubiquitin ligase MuRF1, but not of atrogin-1, leading to myotube atrophy. We found that MuRF1 promoter activity was mediated by acetylation of p65, a subunit of NFκB, a downstream target of the TNF-α signaling pathway; increased MuRF1 promoter activity was abolished by SIRT1, which is associated with deacetylation of p65. Of interest, isoflavones induced expression of SIRT1 mRNA and phosphorylation of AMP kinase, which is well known to stimulate SIRT1 expression, although there was no direct effect on SIRT1 activation. Moreover, isoflavones significantly suppressed MuRF1 promoter activity and myotube atrophy induced by TNF-α in C2C12 myotubes. These results suggest that isoflavones suppress myotube atrophy in skeletal muscle cells through activation of SIRT1 signaling. Thus, the efficacy of isoflavones could provide a novel therapeutic approach against inflammation-related muscle atrophy.
    Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology 01/2013; 59(4):317-24. · 0.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Osteoactivin is a type I transmembrane protein upregulated by unloading stresses, including denervation, prolonged bed rest, and space flight, but the regulatory mechanisms of its expression and activation under these conditions remain undefined. Here we report that osteoactivin protein exists in two forms: an intact transmembrane form and a secreted form. The secreted form, the extracellular fragment of osteoactivin, was produced by ectodomain shedding and was released into a culture medium. Amino acid sequence analysis of the carboxy-terminal fragment of osteoactivin (OA-CTF) revealed that cleavage of osteoactivin by proteases occurred both at the cell surface and within the cell membrane. Localization analysis demonstrated translocalization of OA-CTF to the nucleus and the endoplasmic reticulum. Moreover, RNA binding proteins, which regulate pre-mRNA splicing, were identified as OA-CTF binding proteins. These results suggest that OA-CTF formed by ectodomain shedding is involved in the regulation of pre-mRNA splicing.
    Bioscience Biotechnology and Biochemistry 12/2012; · 1.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Muscle atrophy caused by unloading stress is a serious problem in bed rest patients or astronauts. In our previous studies, we revealed that induction and activation of ubiquitin ligase Cbl-b played an important role in skeletal muscle atrophy caused by unloading stress. Under muscle atrophy conditions, Cbl-b interacted with and degraded IRS-1 (insulin receptor substrate 1) that is a central molecule in the IGF-1 signaling pathway. In addition, we developed a Cbl-b inhibitor (Cblin) that a pentapeptide mimetic of tyrosin608-phosphorylated IRS-1, DGpYMP. This Cblin peptide inhibited Cbl-b mediated IRS-1 ubiquitination and strongly decreased the Cbl-b-mediated induction of MAFbx/atrogin-1. We are further developing Cbl-b inhibitors that are more effective than an original Cblin peptide.
    Clinical calcium 12/2012; 22(12):1879-85.
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    ABSTRACT: Muscle atrophy caused by unloading stress is a challenging problem for bed-rested patients or astronauts. However, countermeasures against these muscle atrophy have not been developed yet. Under unloading conditions, skeletal muscle mass is rapidly lost by the increase in protein breakdown and the decrease in protein synthesis. It has been shown that this enhancement of proteolysis in atrophying muscles results mainly from activation of the ubiquitin-proteasome proteolytic pathway. Previous our studies revealed that unloading stress led to skeletal muscle atrophy through the induction of ubiquitin ligase, Cbl-b (Casitas B-lineage lymphoma b) expression. Thus, Cbl-b inhibiters may be potent therapeutic and preventive sources against skeletal muscle atrophy caused by unloading stress.
    Clinical calcium 12/2012; 22(12):1813-20.
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    ABSTRACT: Flavonoids have attracted considerable attention in relation to their effects upon health. 8-Prenylnaringenin (8-PN) is found in the common hop (Humulus lupulus) and assumed to be responsible for the health impact of beer consumption. We wanted to clarify the effects of prenylation on the physiological functions of dietary flavonoids by comparing the effects of 8-PN with that of intact naringenin in the prevention of disuse muscle atrophy using a model of denervation in mice. Consumption of 8-PN (but not naringenin) prevented loss of weight in the gastrocnemius muscle further supported by the lack of induction of the protein content of a key ubiquitin ligase involved in muscle atrophy, atrogin-1, and by the activation of Akt phosphorylation. 8-PN content in the gastrocnemius muscle was tenfold higher than that of naringenin. These results suggested that, compared with naringenin, 8-PN was effectively concentrated into skeletal muscle to exert its preventive effects upon disuse muscle atrophy. It is likely that prenylation generates novel functions for 8-PN by enhancing its accumulation into muscle tissue through dietary intake.
    PLoS ONE 09/2012; 7(9):e45048. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an incurable and fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by the loss of motor neurons. Despite substantial research, the causes of ALS remain unclear. Glycoprotein nonmetastatic melanoma protein B (GPNMB) was identified as an ALS-related factor using DNA microarray analysis with mutant superoxide dismutase (SOD1(G93A)) mice. GPNMB was greatly induced in the spinal cords of ALS patients and a mouse model as the disease progressed. It was especially expressed in motor neurons and astrocytes. In an NSC34 cell line, glycosylation of GPNMB was inhibited by interaction with SOD1(G93A), increasing motor neuron vulnerability, whereas extracellular fragments of GPNMB secreted from activated astrocytes attenuated the neurotoxicity of SOD1(G93A) in neural cells. Furthermore, GPNMB expression was substantial in the sera of sporadic ALS patients than that of other diseased patients. This study suggests that GPNMB can be a target for therapeutic intervention for suppressing motor neuron degeneration in ALS.
    Scientific Reports 08/2012; 2:573. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Angiogenesis and myogenesis occur in the surrounding skeletal muscles following distraction osteogenesis, but their molecular mechanisms remain unclear. The present study investigated morphological features of lengthened muscles and the time course change of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), its receptors (VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2) and myogenin gene expression profiles related to angiogenesis and myogenesis in tibialis anterior (TA) muscles with a mouse model of distraction osteogenesis, which involves 1 week of waiting period (latency phase), 2 weeks of intermittent distraction (distraction phase), and 5 weeks of remodeling period (consolidation phase). Macroscopic findings showed that lengthened TA muscles increased to approximately 42% longer and 10% heavier at the end of the process when compared to pre-surgery. During the distraction phase, VEGF and its receptors were induced in the vascular endothelial cells, myogenin-positive satellite cells and myocytes, and subsequently, capillary progression and myogenesis were increased. Real-time RT-PCR showed that Vegf, Vegfr-1, Vegfr-2, and myogenin genes expression was enhanced during the muscle lengthening. Vegf and Vegfr-1 were upregulated following the recession of angiogenesis at the consolidation phase. We conclude that upregulation of VEGF and its receptors by mechanical tension-stress could be involved in the process of angiogenesis and myogenesis in lengthened muscles. © 2012 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 30:1767-1773, 2012.
    Journal of Orthopaedic Research 04/2012; 30(11):1767-73. · 2.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Skeletal muscle is one of the most sensitive tissues to mechanical loading, and unloading inhibits the regeneration potential of skeletal muscle after injury. This study was designed to elucidate the specific effects of unloading stress on the function of immunocytes during muscle regeneration after injury. We examined immunocyte infiltration and muscle regeneration in cardiotoxin (CTX)-injected soleus muscles of tail-suspended (TS) mice. In CTX-injected TS mice, the cross-sectional area of regenerating myofibers was smaller than that of weight-bearing (WB) mice, indicating that unloading delays muscle regeneration following CTX-induced skeletal muscle damage. Delayed infiltration of macrophages into the injured skeletal muscle was observed in CTX-injected TS mice. Neutrophils and macrophages in CTX-injected TS muscle were presented over a longer period at the injury sites compared with those in CTX-injected WB muscle. Disturbance of activation and differentiation of satellite cells was also observed in CTX-injected TS mice. Further analysis showed that the macrophages in soleus muscles were mainly Ly-6C-positive proinflammatory macrophages, with high expression of tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1β, indicating that unloading causes preferential accumulation and persistence of proinflammatory macrophages in the injured muscle. The phagocytic and myotube formation properties of macrophages from CTX-injected TS skeletal muscle were suppressed compared with those from CTX-injected WB skeletal muscle. We concluded that the disturbed muscle regeneration under unloading is due to impaired macrophage function, inhibition of satellite cell activation, and their cooperation.
    Journal of Applied Physiology 03/2012; 112(10):1773-82. · 3.43 Impact Factor
  • Takeshi Nikawa
    Arthritis Research & Therapy 02/2012; 14(1). · 4.12 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
418.77 Total Impact Points


  • 1989–2014
    • The University of Tokushima
      • • Department of Nutritional Physiology
      • • Department of Orthopedics
      • • School of Medicine
      • • Department of Enzyme Chemistry
      Tokusima, Tokushima, Japan
  • 2007–2010
    • Chiba University
      • Medical Mycology Research Center (MMRC)
      Chiba-shi, Chiba-ken, Japan
  • 2009
    • Juntendo University
      Edo, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 2006
    • Hiroshima Jogakuin University
      Hirosima, Hiroshima, Japan