Koji Fukushima

Tohoku University, Miyagi, Japan

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Publications (46)174.97 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The molecular mechanisms of assembly and budding of hepatitis C virus (HCV) remain poorly understood. The budding of several enveloped viruses requires an endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT), which is part of the cellular machinery used to form multivesicular bodies (MVBs). Here, we demonstrated that Hrs, an ESCRT-0 component, is critical for the budding of HCV through the exosomal secretion pathway. Hrs depletion caused reduced exosome production, which paralleled with the decrease of HCV replication in the host cell, and that in the culture supernatant. Sucrose-density gradient separation of the culture supernatant of HCV-infected cells revealed the co-existence of HCV core proteins and the exosome marker. Furthermore, both the core protein and an envelope protein of HCV were detected in the intraluminal vesicles of MVBs. These results suggested that HCV secretion from host cells requires Hrs-dependent exosomal pathway in which the viral assembly is also involved.
    Virology 12/2011; 422(2):377-85. DOI:10.1016/j.virol.2011.11.009 · 3.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The genotype B of hepatitis B virus (HBV) was reported to associate with fulminant hepatitis (FH). We aimed to clarify the characteristics of HBV obtained from FH patients in an area of Japan where genotype B HBV is prevalent. Using serum samples of 16 HBV-associated FH patients, partial HBV sequences were determined. The effects of HBV mutation/insertion/deletion were evaluated using an in vitro HBV replication system. Of the 16 HBV isolates, 31% belonged to subgenotype B1/Bj, 38% were subgenotype B2/Ba, and 31% were subgenotype C2/Ce. Notably, the single nucleotide insertion/deletion that resulted in a frameshift of the precore protein was found exclusively in 60% of B1/Bj strains. An in vitro study showed that all of the frameshift mutants had significantly higher amounts of HBV DNA than did the wild type. One of the isolates had a novel insertion of A between nucleotides 1900 and 1901, which resulted in a 3-nucleotide change within the Kozak sequence of the core protein and enhanced the core protein expression in vitro. The frameshift insertion/deletion in the precore region enhanced HBV replication and might be associated with the development of FH by the subgenotype B1/Bj HBV.
    The Journal of Infectious Diseases 10/2011; 204(7):1017-25. DOI:10.1093/infdis/jir485 · 5.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The innate immune cells can not normally respond to the pathogen in patients with decompensated cirrhosis. Previous studies reported that antigen-presenting cells take up L-Cystine (L-Cys) and secrete substantial amounts of L-Glutamate (L-Glu) via the transport system Xc- (4F2hc+xCT), and that this exchange influences the immune responses. The aim of this study is to investigate the influence of the plasma L-Cys/L-Glu imbalance observed in patients with advanced cirrhosis on the function of circulating monocytes. We used a serum-free culture medium consistent with the average concentrations of plasma amino acids from patients with advanced cirrhosis (ACM), and examined the function of CD14+ monocytes or THP-1 under ACM that contained 0-300 nmol/mL L-Cys with LPS. In patients with advanced cirrhosis, we actually determined the TNF-alpha and xCT mRNA of monocytes, and evaluated the correlation between the plasma L-Cys/L-Glu ratio and TNF-alpha. The addition of L-Cys significantly increased the production of TNF alpha from monocytes under ACM. Monocytes with LPS and THP-1 expressed xCT and a high level of extracellular L-Cys enhanced L-Cys/L-Glu antiport, and the intracellular GSH/GSSG ratio was decreased. The L-Cys transport was inhibited by excess L-Glu. In patients with advanced cirrhosis (n = 19), the TNF-alpha and xCT mRNA of monocytes were increased according to the Child-Pugh grade. The TNF-alpha mRNA of monocytes was significantly higher in the high L-Cys/L-Glu ratio group than in the low ratio group, and the plasma TNF-alpha was significantly correlated with the L-Cys/L-Glu ratio. A plasma L-Cys/L-Glu imbalance, which appears in patients with advanced cirrhosis, increased the TNF-alpha from circulating monocytes via increasing the intracellular oxidative stress. These results may reflect the immune abnormality that appears in patients with decompensated cirrhosis.
    PLoS ONE 08/2011; 6(8):e23402. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0023402 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Organ allocation in Japan remains difficult due to the shortage of deceased-donor livers. The screening tool for controlling nutritional status (CONUT) has been considered to be an established assessment model for evaluating nutritional aspects in surgical patients. However, the application of this CONUT for evaluating the prognosis of patients with end-stage liver diseases has not been evaluated. We assessed the predictability of the prognoses of 58 patients with end-stage liver disease using various prognostic models. The patients registered at the transplantation center of Tohoku University Hospital for the waiting list of Japan Organ Transplant Network for liver transplantation were retrospectively analyzed. The prognoses of the patients were evaluated using the following 5 models: CONUT, the model for ELD with incorporation of sodium (MELD-Na), Child-Turcotte-Pugh score (CTP), prognostic nutritional indices (Onodera: PNI-O), and the Japan Medical Urgency criteria of the liver (JMU). Cox's proportional hazard model, log-rank test and concordance(c)-static were used for the statistics. The indices were 17.74 ± 5.80 for MELD-Na, 9.21 ± 2.19 for CTP, 33.92 ± 11.16 for PNI-O, and 7.57 ± 3.09 for CONUT. Univariate analysis revealed the significance of CONUT (p = 0.017, Odds: 1.325) but not MELD-Na, CTP, JMU or PNI-O for prediction. The cumulative survival rate was clearly discriminated at CONUT point 7. The c-static was 0.081 for the 6-month (M) survival rate, 0.172 for 12M, 0.517 for 36M, 0.821 for 48M, and 0.938 for 60M for CONUT. In conclusion, CONUT shows best predictability for the distant prognoses of patients with ELD.
    The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine 07/2011; 224(3):215-9. DOI:10.1620/tjem.224.215 · 1.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lymphotropic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection of B and T cells might play an important role in the pathogenesis of hepatitis C. Recently, we showed that a lymphotropic HCV (SB strain) could infect established T-cell lines and B-cell lines. However, whether HCV replication interferes with cell proliferation and function in primary T lymphocytes is still unclear. The aim of this study was to analyze whether HCV replication in primary T lymphocytes affected their development, proliferation, and Th1 commitment. SB strain cell culture supernatant (2 × 10(4) copies/ml HCV) was used to infect several kinds of primary lymphocyte subsets. Mock, UV-irradiated SB-HCV, JFH-1 strain, and JFH-1 NS5B mutant, which could not replicate in T cells, were included as negative controls. Carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester (CFSE) and CD45RA double staining was used to evaluate the proliferative activity of CD4(+)CD45RA(+)CD45RO(-) naïve CD4(+) cells. Interferon (IFN)-γ and interleukin (IL)-10 secretion assays magnetic cell sorting (MACS) were carried out. Negative strand HCV RNA was detected in CD4(+), CD14(+), and CD19(+) cells. Among CD4(+) cells, CD4(+)CD45RA(+)RO(-) cells (naïve CD4(+) cells) were most susceptible to replication of the SB strain. The levels of CFSE and CD45RA expression gradually declined during cell division in uninfected cells, while HCV-infected naïve CD4(+) cells expressed higher levels of CFSE and CD45RA than Mock or UV-SB infected naïve CD4(+) cells. Moreover, the production of IFN-γ was significantly suppressed in SB-infected naïve CD4(+) cells. Lymphotropic HCV replication suppressed proliferation and development, including that towards Th1 commitment, in human primary naïve CD4(+) cells.
    Journal of Gastroenterology 02/2011; 46(2):232-41. DOI:10.1007/s00535-010-0297-2 · 4.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Accumulating evidence suggests that cancer stem cells (CSC) play an important role in tumorigenicity. Epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) is one of the markers that identifies tumor cells with high tumorigenicity. The expression of EpCAM in liver progenitor cells prompted us to investigate whether CSC could be identified in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell lines. The sorted EpCAM(+) subpopulation from HCC cell lines showed a greater colony formation rate than the sorted EpCAM(-) subpopulation from the same cell lines, although cell proliferation was comparable between the two subpopulations. The in vivo evaluation of tumorigenicity, using supra-immunodeficient NOD/scid/γc(null) (NOG) mice, revealed that a smaller number of EpCAM(+) cells (minimum 100) than EpCAM(-) cells was necessary for tumor formation. The bifurcated differentiation of EpCAM(+) cell clones into both EpCAM(+) and EpCAM(-) cells was obvious both in vitro and in vivo, but EpCAM(-) clones sustained their phenotype. These clonal analyses suggested that EpCAM(+) cells may contain a multipotent cell population. Interestingly, the introduction of exogenous EpCAM into EpCAM(+) clones, but not into EpCAM(-) clones, markedly enhanced their tumor-forming ability, even though both transfectants expressed a similar level of EpCAM. Therefore, the difference in the tumor-forming ability between EpCAM(+) and EpCAM(-) cells is probably due to the intrinsic biological differences between them. Collectively, our results suggest that the EpCAM(+) population is biologically quite different from the EpCAM(-) population in HCC cell lines, and preferentially contains a highly tumorigenic cell population with the characteristics of CSC.
    Cancer Science 10/2010; 101(10):2145-55. DOI:10.1111/j.1349-7006.2010.01661.x · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Exosomes are nanovesicles derived from multivesicular bodies (MVBs) in antigen-presenting cells. The components of the ESCRT (endosomal sorting complex required for transport) pathway are critical for the formation of MVBs, however the relationship between the ESCRT pathway and the secretion of exosomes remains unclear. We here demonstrate that Hrs, an ESCRT-0 protein, is required for fascilitating the secretion of exosomes in dendritic cells (DCs). Ultrastructural analyses showed typical saucer-shaped exosomes in the culture supernatant from both the control and Hrs-depleted DCs. However, the amount of exosome secretion was significantly decreased in Hrs-depleted DCs following stimulations with ovalbumin (OVA) as well as calcium ionophore. Antigen-presentation activity was also suppressed in exsosomes purified from Hrs-depleted DCs, while no alteration in OVA degradation was seen in Hrs-depleted DCs. These data indicated that Hrs is involved in the regulation of antigen-presentation activity through the exosome secretion.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 08/2010; 399(3):384-90. DOI:10.1016/j.bbrc.2010.07.083 · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: HBcAg-specific regulatory T (T(reg)) cells play an important role in the pathogenesis of chronic hepatitis B. Soluble heat shock proteins, especially soluble heat shock protein 60 (sHSP60), could affect the function of T(reg) cells via Toll-like receptor. We analyzed the relationship between soluble heat shock protein production and hepatitis B virus (HBV) replication with both clinical samples from HBeAg-positive patients with chronic hepatitis B (n= 24) and HBeAb-positive patients with chronic hepatitis B (n= 24) and in vitro HBV-replicating hepatocytes. Thereafter, we examined the biological effects of sHSP60 with isolated T(reg) cells. The serum levels of sHSP60 in patients with chronic hepatitis B were statistically significantly higher than those in patients with chronic hepatitis C (P<.01), and the levels of sHSP60 were correlated with the HBV DNA levels (r = 0.532; P<.001) but not with the alanine aminotransferase levels. Moreover, the levels of sHSP60 in HBV-replicating HepG2 cells were statistically significantly higher than those in control HepG2 cells. Preincubation of CD4(+) CD25(+) cells with recombinant HSP60 (1 ng/mL) statistically significantly increased the frequency of HBcAg-specific interleukin 10-secreting T(reg) cells. The frequency of IL7R(-)CD4(+)CD25(+) cells, the expression of Toll-like receptor 2, and the suppressive function of T(reg) cells had declined during entecavir treatment. The function of HBcAg-specific T(reg) cells was enhanced by sHSP60 produced from HBV-infected hepatocytes. Entecavir treatment suppressed the frequency and function of T(reg) cells; this might contribute to the persistence of HBV infection.
    The Journal of Infectious Diseases 07/2010; 202(2):202-13. DOI:10.1086/653496 · 5.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The nutritional and physiological roles of amino acid (AA)s have been investigated for individual organs. In the current study, we focused on the dynamics of glutamate and transport systems in the pancreas. We employed original procedures to obtain rat pancreatic juice (PJ) subjected to intravenous administration of alanyl-glutamine (AG) for AA analysis. The pancreatic expressions of the transporters were evaluated by immunohistochemistry. We found that glutamate was secreted into the PJ in the basal state. The intravenous administration of AG increased the concentration and total amount of glutamate excreted into the PJ. In terms of the transport systems, L-type AA transporter (LAT1) was identified exclusively in the islet cells. Glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1), glutamate-aspartate transporter (GLAST), vesicular glutamate transporter 1 (VGUT1) and cystine/glutamic acid transporter (xCT) were found in the islet cells. xCT was identified in the duct cells as well, but was not accompanied by the expression of 4F2 heavy chain (4F2hc) staining in the islets and the acinar cells, similar to neutral AA transporter (ASCT2) or b0,+-type AA transporter 1(BAT1). Excitatory AA transporter (EAAC) was identified only in the acinar cells. Glutamate was exclusively found in the acinar cells. We revealed the novel dynamics of glutamate in the rat PJ. The glutamate secretion into the PJ was augmented by plasma glutamine, indicating the de novo metabolisms of glutamate, together with the local expression of the related transporters.
    Journal of physiology and pharmacology: an official journal of the Polish Physiological Society 06/2010; 61(3):265-71. · 2.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although chronic infection of hepatitis B virus (HBV) is currently managed with nucleot(s)ide analogues or interferon-alpha, the control of HBV infection still remains a clinical challenge. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) is a ligand-activated transcription factor, that plays a role in glucose and lipid metabolism, immune reactions, and inflammation. In this study, the suppressive effect of PPAR ligands on HBV replication was examined in vitro using a PPARalpha ligand, bezafibrate, and a PPARgamma ligand, rosiglitazone. The effects were examined in HepG2 cells transfected with a plasmid containing 1.3-fold HBV genome. Whereas bezafibrate showed no effect against HBV replication, rosiglitazone reduced the amount of HBV DNA, hepatitis B surface antigen, and hepatitis B e antigen in the culture supernatant. Southern blot analysis showed that the replicative intermediates of HBV in the cells were also inhibited. It was confirmed that GW9662, an antagonist of PPARgamma, reduced the suppressive effect of rosiglitazone on HBV. Moreover, rosiglitazone showed a synergistic effect on HBV replication with lamivudine or interferon-alpha-2b. In conclusion, this study showed that rosiglitazone inhibited the replication of HBV in vitro, and suggested that the combination therapy of rosiglitazone and nucleot(s)ide analogues or interferon could be a therapeutic option for chronic HBV infection.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 05/2010; 396(2):508-14. DOI:10.1016/j.bbrc.2010.04.128 · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Excessive trans-fatty acids (TFA) consumption has been thought to be a risk factor mainly for coronary artery diseases while less attention has been paid to liver disease. We aimed to clarify the impact of TFA-rich oil consumption on the hepatic pathophysiology compared to natural oil. Mice were fed either a low-fat (LF) or high-fat (HF) diet made of either natural oil as control (LF-C or HF-C) or partially hydrogenated oil, TFA-rich oil (LF-T or HF-T) for 24 weeks. We evaluated the liver and body weight, serological features, liver lipid content and composition, liver histology and hepatic lipid metabolism-related gene expression profile. In addition, primary cultures of mice Kupffer cells (KCs) were evaluated for cytokine secretion and phagocytotic ability after incubation in cis- or trans-fatty acid-containing medium. The HF-T-fed mice showed significant increases of the liver and body weights, plasma alanine-aminotransferase, free fatty acid and hepatic triglyceride content compared to the HF-C group, whereas the LF-T group did not differ from the LF-C group. HF-T-fed mice developed severe steatosis, along with increased lipogenic gene expression and hepatic TFA accumulation. KCs showed increased tumor necrosis factor secretion and attenuated phagocytotic ability in the TFA-containing medium compared to its cis-isomer. Excessive consumption of the TFA-rich oil up-regulated the lipogenic gene expression along with marked hepatic lipid accumulation. TFA might be pathogenic through causing severe steatosis and modulating the function of KCs. The quantity and composition of dietary lipids could be responsible for the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.
    Journal of Hepatology 04/2010; 53(2):326-34. DOI:10.1016/j.jhep.2010.02.029 · 9.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is characterized by unknown etiologies, anti-mitochondrial antibodies, injury of the biliary duct and the lack of a definite remedy. The etiologies of PBC have been well-discussed, including microorganisms and xenobiotics as the triggers for initiating the disease, and an abnormality of immune-tolerance. Recently, several animal models of PBC have been developed that may lead to the development of new therapies. Here, we reviewed the articles that address the etiology of PBC and the therapy for this disease for the confirmation of our current positions and future directions.
    Hepatology Research 01/2010; 40(1):61-8. DOI:10.1111/j.1872-034X.2009.00605.x · 2.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An imbalance of plasma amino acids is observed in patients with advanced cirrhosis. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of the extracellular amino acid imbalance on the function of myeloid dendritic cells (DCs) in patients with advanced cirrhosis. We made a serum-free culture medium consistent with the average concentration of plasma amino acids from healthy controls (HC, n = 25) or patients with advanced cirrhosis (LC, n = 43) to reflect more closely the actual environment of the living body. We compared the phenotypical and biological functions of blood dendritic cells antigen-positive dendritic cells (BDCA+ DCs) and monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MoDCs) from LC and HC with these media. After adding stimulants, the CD83 and CD86 expressions of DCs from LC were lower than those from HC. In both HC and LC, both CD83 and CD86 expressions of DCs stimulated under the cirrhotic medium were lower than under the control medium. This phenomenon was accompanied by a suppression of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)/S6K-signaling pathways. The interleukin 12 (IL-12) production in the cirrhotic medium was significantly lower than in the control medium and increased when valine or leucine was added to the medium. In patients with advanced cirrhosis, peripheral blood mononuclear cells stimulated in the autologous plasma after oral administration of branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) granules had significantly increased interferon gamma production. CONCLUSION: In advanced cirrhosis, there is impairment of the function and maturation of DCs, which has been shown to be related to an imbalance in the extracellular amino acid profile. Elevating the extracellular concentration of BCAAs ex vivo in patients with advanced cirrhosis improved the function of DCs.
    Hepatology 12/2009; 50(6):1936-45. DOI:10.1002/hep.23248 · 11.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The peribiliary inflammation of cholangiopathy affects the physiological properties of biliary epithelial cells (cholangiocyte), including bicarbonate-rich ductular secretion. We revealed the upregulation of annexin A2 (ANXA2) in cholangiocytes in primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) by a proteomics approach and evaluated its physiological significance. Global protein expression profiles of a normal human cholangiocyte line (H69) in response to interferon-gamma (IFNgamma) were obtained by two-dimensional electrophoresis followed by MALDI-TOF-MS. Histological expression patterns of the identified molecules in PBC liver were confirmed by immunostaining. H69 cells stably transfected with doxycyclin-inducible ANXA2 were subjected to physiological evaluation. Recovery of the intracellular pH after acute alkalinization was measured consecutively by a pH indicator with a specific inhibitor of anion exchanger (AE), 4,4'-diisothiocyanatostilbene-2,2'-disulfonic acid (DIDS). Protein kinase-C (PKC) activation was measured by PepTag Assay and immunoblotting. Twenty spots that included ANXA2 were identified as IFNgamma-responsive molecules. Cholangiocytes of PBC liver were decorated by the unique membranous overexpression of ANXA2. Apical ANXA2 of small ducts of PBC was directly correlated with the clinical cholestatic markers and transaminases. Controlled induction of ANXA2 resulted in significant increase of the DIDS-inhibitory fraction of AE activity of H69, which was accompanied by modulation of PKC activity. We, therefore, identified ANXA2 as an IFNgamma-inducible gene in cholangiocytes that could serve as a potential histological marker of inflammatory cholangiopathy, including PBC. We conclude that inducible ANXA2 expression in cholangiocytes may play a compensatory role for the impaired AE activity of cholangiocytes in PBC in terms of bicarbonate-rich ductular secretion and bile formation through modulation of the PKC activity.
    Laboratory Investigation 10/2009; 89(12):1374-86. DOI:10.1038/labinvest.2009.105 · 3.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A plasmid carrying 1.3-fold HBV genome was constructed from a HBV strain that caused five consecutive cases of fulminant hepatitis (pBFH2), and HepG2 cells were transfected with pBFH2 or its variants. The pBFH2 construct with A1762T/G1764A, G1862T, and G1896A showed the largest amount of core particle-associated intracellular HBV DNA, but no significant increase of extracellular HBV DNA in comparison with the wild construct, suggesting that these mutations might work together for retention of the replicative intermediates in the cells. The retention might relate to the localization of hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg) in the nucleus of HepG2, which was observed by confocal fluorescence microscopy. HBcAg immunohistochemical examination of liver tissue samples obtained from the consecutive fulminant hepatitis patients showed stronger staining in the nucleus than acute hepatitis patients. In conclusion, the fulminant HBV strain caused retention of the core particles and the core particle-associated HBV DNA in the cells.
    Virology 10/2009; 395(2):202-9. DOI:10.1016/j.virol.2009.09.028 · 3.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies have shown that indigenous hepatitis E virus (HEV) strains cause hepatitis E in industrialized countries. We aimed to clarify the characteristics of HEV infection in sporadic hepatitis patients during the last decade in Miyagi, northeast Japan. We analyzed 94 serum samples obtained from acute or fulminant hepatitis patients of non-A, non-B, and non-C etiology between 1999 and 2008. Antibody to HEV (anti-HEV) was assayed, and patients who were positive for IgM- and/or IgA-class anti-HEV were diagnosed with hepatitis E. HEV RNA was tested in these patients, and phylogenetic analysis was performed. The occurrence of hepatitis E was compared with that of hepatitis A. Eight acute hepatitis patients (8.5%) were diagnosed with hepatitis E, and HEV RNA was detectable in seven patients. Five isolates of HEV were segregated into genotype 3 and the remaining two isolates into genotype 4. The year of the occurrence of hepatitis E was distributed almost equally from 1999 to 2008, whereas the cases of acute hepatitis A (n = 16) have decreased markedly in the last several years. In 2004-2008, the occurrence of hepatitis E was greater than that of hepatitis A (five cases vs. one case). As for seasonality, hepatitis E occurred more frequently from September to December than hepatitis A (five cases vs. four cases), although less frequently from January to April (one case vs. seven cases). The occurrence of hepatitis E has not decreased during the last decade in northeast Japan, in contrast to hepatitis A.
    Journal of Gastroenterology 04/2009; 44(4):329-37. DOI:10.1007/s00535-009-0012-3 · 4.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aim: Skeletal metastases and bone metasitasis are a common occurrence in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Bisphosphonates (BPs), which are used for the treatment of osteoporosis and tumor-associated hypercalcemia, have recently been reported to decrease skeletal morbidity in patients with metastatic bone disease. Several studies revealed that nitrogen-containing BPs (N-BPs) could inhibit tumor growth and migration, indicating the possibility that N-BPs have direct inhibitory effects. We aimed to determine the effects of novel a N-BP (YM529) on human HCC cells in vitro. Methods: HCC cells were treated with various concentrations of YM529 and the growth inhibition rate was determined. Apoptosis was evaluated by caspase-3/7 assay and caspase-9 cleavage detection. The effects of YM529 on the migration of HCC cells induced by hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) were determined by cell migration assay. To evaluate the involvement of the mevalonate pathway, farnesol (FOH) and geranylgeraniol (GGOH) were added. Results: YM529 inhibited the proliferation of HCC cells in a dose-dependent manner. The activation of caspase-3/7 and cleavage of caspase-9 demonstrated the involvement of apoptosis in cytotoxicity. GGOH reduced the growth inhibitory effect of YM529 and suppressed the induction of caspase-3/7 activities by YM529 on HCC cells. YM529 inhibited tumor cell migration induced by HGF and this effect was reduced by co-treatment with GGOH. Conclusion: YM529 inhibited the cell proliferation and migration of HCC cells, implicating the involvement of the mevalonate pathway. These results suggest that N-BPs are potential agents for the treatment of HCC skeletal metastases.
    Hepatology Research 02/2009; 39(5):479-89. DOI:10.1111/j.1872-034X.2008.00484.x · 2.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the efficacy of pegylated interferon alpha-2b (peg-IFN alpha-2b) plus ribavirin (RBV) therapy in Japanese patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) genotype Ib and a high viral load. One hundred and twenty CHC patients (58.3% male) who received peg-IFN alpha-2b plus RBV therapy for 48 wk were enrolled. Sustained virological response (SVR) and clinical parameters were evaluated. One hundred (83.3%) of 120 patients completed 48 wk of treatment. 53 patients (44.3%) achieved SVR. Early virological response (EVR) and end of treatment response (ETR) rates were 50% and 73.3%, respectively. The clinical parameters (SVR vs non-SVR) associated with SVR, ALT (108.4 IU/L vs 74.5 IU/L, P = 0.063), EVR (76.4% vs 16.4%, P < 0.0001), adherence to peg-IFN (>or= 80% of planned dose) at week 12 (48.1% vs 13.6%, P = 0.00036), adherence to peg-IFN at week 48 (54.7% vs 16.2%, P < 0.0001) and adherence to RBV at week 48 (56.1% vs 32.1%, P = 0.0102) were determined using univariate analysis, and EVR and adherence to peg-IFN at week 48 were determined using multivariate analysis. In the older patient group (> 56 years), SVR in females was significantly lower than that in males (17% vs 50%, P = 0.0262). EVR and adherence to Peg-IFN were demonstrated to be the main factors associated with SVR. Peg-IFN alpha-2b plus RBV combination therapy demonstrated good tolerability in Japanese patients with CHC and resulted in a SVR rate of 44.3%. Treatment of elderly female patients is still challenging and maintenance of adherence to peg-IFN alpha-2b is important in improving the SVR rate.
    World Journal of Gastroenterology 12/2008; 14(47):7225-4230. · 2.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aims: Galectins are multifunctional lectins binding to the beta-galactoside of glycoproteins that affect diverse physiological and pathophysiological processes such as development, inflammation and tumor growth. In hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the over-expression of galectin-1, 3, and 4 has been reported, although their function and correlation with tumor progression remain unknown. Thus, we aimed to assess the role of galectin-3 during HCC progression. Methods: Specimens were obtained during curative operations and used for immunohistochemical analysis of galectin-3 (n = 52), and statistically assessed for correlations with the clinical profiles and the prognoses of the patients. The serum galectin-3 levels from the patients with liver diseases including HCC were assessed by ELISA. Results: In total, galectin-3 expression was found in 34 of 52 tumors (65%) and was statistically correlated with histological differentiation and vascular invasion. Kaplan-Meier's analysis showed that patients with galectin-3 expression tended to relapse in the earlier phase and had worse overall survival. In particular, a higher expression rate of nuclear galectin-3 showed a markedly worse prognosis, and it was independent in the multivariate analysis for overall survival. Serum galectin-3 levels were significantly increased in HCC compared with chronic liver disease. The sensitivity and specificity of galectin-3 were equivalent to alpha-fetoprotein and Vitamin K absence or antagonist II, and the combination of HCC biomarkers with galectin-3 improved the diagnostic performance. Conclusions: Galectin-3 expression was involved in the tumor progression and related to the prognosis of HCC. Our observations suggested that galectin-3 could be a novel tumor marker and therapeutic target.
    Hepatology Research 09/2008; 38(11):1098-111. DOI:10.1111/j.1872-034X.2008.00387.x · 2.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Many studies have reported the efficiency of transient elastography, a noninvasive, reproducible, and reliable method for predicting liver fibrosis, in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) and B (CHB), but there are few reports about nonviral chronic liver disease (CLD) such as primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NAFLD), and autoimmune hepatitis (AIH). We therefore compared the efficiency of transient elastography between CHC and nonviral CLD. We assessed the accuracy of liver stiffness measurement (LSM) using Fibroscan, and compared these values with those of hyaluronic acid, type 4 collagen, platelet count, prothrombin index, and AST/platelet ratio index (APRI) as indices for the diagnosis of liver fibrosis in 114 patients with a variety of chronic liver diseases: CHC (n = 51), CHB (n = 11), NAFLD (n = 17), PBC (n = 20), and AIH (n = 15). The histology was assessed according to the METAVIR score by two pathologists. The number of fibrosis stage (F0/1/2/3/4) with CHC was 9/15/12/6/10, and that with nonviral CLD was 10/21/11/4/6, respectively. The ability, assessed by area under receiver operating characteristic (AUROC) curve, to predict liver fibrosis F >or= 2 for LSM, HA, type 4 collagen, platelet count, prothrombin index, and APRI, was 0.92, 0.81, 0.87, 0.85, 0.85, and 0.92 in CHC patients, respectively; and 0.88, 0.72, 0.81, 0.67, 0.81, and 0.77 in nonviral CLD patients, respectively. In patients with nonviral CLD, LSM was most helpful in predicting significant fibrosis (F >or= 2). Transient elastography is a reliable method for predicting significant liver fibrosis, not only in CHC patients but also in nonviral CLD patients.
    Journal of Gastroenterology 09/2008; 43(9):720-8. DOI:10.1007/s00535-008-2225-2 · 4.02 Impact Factor