This review focuses on the in vitro synthesis of polysaccharides, the method of which is “enzymatic polymerization” mainly developed by our group. Polysaccharides are formed by repeated glycosylation reactions between a glycosyl donor and a glycosyl acceptor. A hydrolysis enzyme was found very efficient as catalyst, where the monomer is designed based on the new concept of a “transition-state analogue substrate” (TSAS); sugar fluoride monomers for polycondensation and sugar oxazoline monomers for ring-opening polyaddition. Enzymatic polymerization enabled the first in vitro synthesis of natural polysaccharides such as cellulose, xylan, chitin, hyaluronan and chondroitin, and also of unnatural polysaccharides such as a cellulose–chitin hybrid, a hyaluronan–chondroitin hybrid, and others. Supercatalysis of hyaluronidase was disclosed as unusual enzymatic multi-catalyst functions. Mutant enzymes were very useful for synthetic and mechanistic studies. In situ observations of enzymatic polymerization by SEM, TEM, and combined SAS methods revealed mechanisms of the polymerization and of the self-assembling of high-order molecular structure formed by elongating polysaccharide molecules.
This review focuses on our basic study results and clinical experience of fluorescence endoscopy for the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Collagen, which fluoresces in the green wavelength range, is one of the major sources of tissue autofluorescence (AF) and AF imaging systems are now available. With their use, however, it is important to take into account tissue changes other than, or in addition to, changes in gross tissue morphology. These may include alterations in the local blood volume, tissue metabolic activity, and relative fluorophore concentrations. New AF imaging systems are very easy to use, because white light endoscopy can be changed to AF at the push of a button, and hold great promise for diagnosis of early carcinomas and premalignant lesions in the GI tract. In particular, AF endoscopy has potential for identification of small or flat tumors, tumor margins and premalignant lesions in Barrett’s esophagus, as well as for assessing tumor grade and response to therapy. However, large-scale studies are needed to clarify the clinical impact of this new diagnostic approach.
In recent years, various types of diagnostic imaging methods, such as CT, MRI, PET and Ultrasound, have been developed rapidly and become indispensable as clinical diagnostic tools. Among these imaging modalities, CT, MRI and PET all apply electromagnetic waves like radiation rays. In contrast, an ultrasound imaging method uses a completely different mechanical pressure wave: “sound”. Ultrasound has various features, including inaudible sound at very high frequencies, which allows its use in medical diagnoses. That is, ultrasound techniques can be applied in transmission, reflection and Doppler methods. Moreover, the sharp directivity of an ultrasound beam can also improve image resolution. Another big advantage of diagnostic ultrasound is that it does not harm the human body or cause any pain to patients. Given these various advantages, diagnostic ultrasound has recently been widely used in diagnosing cancer and cardiovascular disease and scanning fetuses (Fig. 1) as well as routine clinical examinations in hospitals. In this paper, I outline my almost 50-year history of diagnostic ultrasound research, particularly that performed at the early stage from 1950-56.
The development of a transgenic mouse model carrying the human poliovirus receptor has made it possible to investigate the molecular mechanisms of the viral dissemination process in a whole organism. Studies on this have provided an insight into the mechanisms for viral permeation through the blood-brain barrier and retrograde axonal transport of the virus. In addition, strain-specific neurovirulence levels are shown to depend mainly on the replicating capacity of the virus in the central nervous system rather than the efficiency of the 2 dissemination pathways indicated above. Studies of poliovirus-induced cytopathic effects on neural cells revealed that neural cells possess anti-poliovirus characteristics that may offer a new avenue for investigating the molecular mechanisms of poliovirus neurovirulence.