Department of Acute Critical Medicine

Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine

All roads lead to anesthesiology
  • Pathophysiology and treatment of acute respiratory failure and optimal artificial respiratory therapy
  • Effects of anesthetics on dendritic cells
  • Effects of anesthetics on heart ischemia
  • Electrophysiology studies of pain processing by the spinal dorsal horn
  • Imaging calcium dynamics in hypoxic neurons
Professor Yuji Fujino
Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine
Our clinical responsibilites can be categorized into three: operating room anesthesia, intensive care and pain treatment. Accordingly, we can divide our research into three areas, anesthetic pharmacology, acute respiratory failure, and pain medicine. Regarding these research areas, we carry out basic research and clinical research using cells and small animals.

Multidisciplinary approach to anesthesiology

Anesthesiology can be viewed as the science of managing all organs in the body. Below is a description of our projects.

1. Pathophysiology of acute respiratory failure and optimal artificial respiratory therapy

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is caused by inflammation in the lungs. In these cases, in order to preserve the mechanical function of the lung, management of artificial respiration is essential, but in some cases artificial respiration causes pulmonary damage. We have proposed and validated the use of transpulmonary pressure as a more useful indicator than airway pressure for evaluating the risks associated with artificial respiration.

2. Electrophysiological study of pain processing by the spinal dorsal horn

Pain management is a major part of an anesthesiologist’s task. However, well after surgery, many patients suffer from chronic pain and neuropathic pain. The mechanisms responsible for the onset and refractory nature of these pains are poorly understood. Therefore, we are investigating changes in neurotransmissions from the spinal cord dorsal horn by conducting electrophysiology and immunohistology on cells from model mice. We are also conducting behavioral experiments on model mice. The goal of this work is to elucidate the mechanisms and develop new therapies.

3. Effects of anesthetics on dendritic cells

It is widely known that anesthetics affect not only the central nervous system but also the immune system. We are investigating the effects of anesthetics on dendritic cells and macrophages, which play a central role in immune responses. For example, it has been noted that benzodiazepine acts not only on central benzodiazepine receptor but also on peripheral benzodiazepine receptor (Translocator Protein, TSPO). We found that midazolam inhibits the immune response of dendritic cells via TSPO.

4. Effects of anesthetic on ischemic heart

Aging populations have brought an increase in patients with heart failure and the importance of perioperative care. We are studying the effects of anesthetic drugs in the perioperative period on hemodynamic and proarrhythmic properties using rat models of ischemic heart failure. Another related matter is the heart transplantation of brain dead donors, for which Osaka University is a leader in Japan. Maintaining good function of the removed heart is paramount. Using a rat model, we are conducting research on how to protect cardiac function after brain death by anesthetics.