- Realization of scarless wound healing in medical treatments
- Development of new regenerative medicine for peripheral nerve injury using adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells
- Elucidation of mechanisms that promote peripheral nerve regeneration
- Development of new treatments for facial nerve palsy
Restoration of forms and functions of the human body by innovative surgical techniques such as tissue transplant using microsurgery.
Our laboratory conducts research on skin wound healing with the aim of realizing scarless wound healing in medical treatments. We also perform studies related to peripheral nerve regeneration mechanism and adipose tissue derived mesenchymal stem cells.
Fibroblasts and myofibroblasts play important roles in skin wound healing. We focus on studying factors involved in cytoskeletal regulation such as RhoA, Rac1 and Cdc42. Previously we discovered that administration of bFGF to fibroblasts improves wound healing by activating Rac1 to promote lamellipodia formation and fibroblast migration, and identified that bFGF promotes fibroblast migration through the PI3-Kinase-Rac1-JNK signal transduction pathway. Moreover, we revealed that endothelin-1, one of vascular endothelial-derived factors, activates RhoA in fibroblasts and induces differentiation into myofibroblasts, leading to the formation of abnormalities such as keloids and hypertrophic scars.
Facial paralysis is an intractable disorder often encountered in the field of plastic surgery. For the development of novel therapeutic treatments, we focused on similar factors related to wound healing such as RhoA, Rac1 and Cdc42, and clarified the mechanism of axon extension promotion in peripheral nerves. We identified that inhibition of RhoA promotes recovery after motor nerve injury. We are currently also working towards the development of new regenerative medicine for peripheral nerve injury using adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells.
Furthermore, we developed an innovative model of co-culturing skin fibroblasts and neurons to study the interaction between skin and nerve, which are two seemingly different systems. Using this model, we discovered that upon contact with neurites, differentiation of fibroblasts into myofibroblasts is being promoted hence enhancing wound contraction.
We will continue to further explore the mechanisms behind the above findings, with the aim to ultimately achieve scarless wound healing in medical treatments and full regeneration of peripheral nerve damage.