Combination of bioaffinity and chromatography gave birth to affinity chromatography. A further combination with frontal analysis resulted in creation of frontal affinity chromatography (FAC). This new versatile research tool enabled detailed analysis of weak interactions that play essential roles in living systems, especially those between complex saccharides and saccharide-binding proteins. FAC now becomes the best method for the investigation of saccharide-binding proteins (lectins) from viewpoints of sensitivity, accuracy, and efficiency, and is contributing greatly to the development of glycobiology. It opened a door leading to deeper understanding of the significance of saccharide recognition in life. The theory is also concisely described.
Since the first reports in 2001, great advances have been made towards the understanding of endocannabinoid-mediated synaptic modulation. Electrophysiological studies have revealed that one of the two major endocannabinoids, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), is produced from membrane lipids upon postsynaptic Ca2+ elevation and/or activation of Gq/11-coupled receptors, and released from postsynaptic neurons. The released 2-AG then acts retrogradely onto presynaptic cannabinoid CB1 receptors and induces suppression of neurotransmitter release either transiently or persistently. These forms of 2-AG-mediated retrograde synaptic modulation are functional throughout the brain. The other major endocannabinoid, anandamide, mediates a certain form of endocannabinoid-mediated long-term depression (LTD). Anandamide also functions as an agonist for transient receptor potential vanilloid receptor type 1 (TRPV1) and mediates endocannabinoid-independent and TRPV1-dependent forms of LTD. It has also been demonstrated that the endocannabinoid system itself is plastic, which can be either up- or down-regulated by experimental or environmental conditions. In this review, I will make an overview of the mechanisms underlying endocannabinoid-mediated synaptic modulation.
In Japan, efforts have been directed toward improving the detection of early gastric cancer by double contrast radiography and endoscopy, since early cancer has a good prognosis, resulting in Japan having the world’s best diagnostic system for early gastric cancer. The 5-year survival rate of gastric cancer patients in Japan is much higher than in Western countries by the development of endoscopic treatment for early gastric cancer. In February 2013, Japanese national health insurance cover for H. pylori eradication therapy was expanded to patients with H. pylori-associated gastritis, a type of chronic gastritis. H. pylori-associated gastritis causes gastric and duodenal ulcers and gastric polyps, therefore, providing treatment for this gastritis is likely to substantially decrease the prevalence of both gastric and duodenal ulcer and gastric cancer. Patients with gastritis are tested for H. pylori infection and those who are positive receive eradication therapy followed by periodic endoscopic surveillance. If such an approach is pursued further in Japan, gastric cancer deaths will show a dramatic decline after 10–20 years.