Some acts such as the Basic Environment Act are aimed at managing environmental health for a productive living environment in Japan. School is not only a place where lessons for a better future are taught but also an environment in which children spend many hours of their day. Therefore, activities involving regular checks are important to maintain and improve the school environment. Article 5 of the School Health and Safety Act states that schools must make plans and carry out regular checks on school environmental health. Article 6 prescribes that the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology establish a “school environmental health standard”. This standard involves metrics on the classroom environment (quality of air, illumination, and noise levels), quality of drinking/pool water and so on, and their standard values and evaluation methods. Article 23 prescribes that each school except colleges/universities have a school pharmacist. The school pharmacist plays an important role in maintaining and improving the school's environmental health. However, the current actions taken are not adequate. Therefore, prospects for future activities will be discussed based on the current situations and problems.
The “School Health and Safety Act” was enforced in April 2009 in Japan, and “school environmental health standards” were established by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. In Article 24 of the Enforcement Regulations, the duties of the school pharmacist have been clarified; school pharmacists have charged with promoting health activities in schools and carrying out complete and regular checks based on the “school environmental health standards” in order to protect the health of students and staff. In supported of this, the school pharmacist group of Japan Pharmaceutical Association has created and distributed digital video discs (DVDs) on “check methods of school environmental health standards” as support material. We use the DVD to ensure the basic issues that school pharmacists deal with, such as objectives, criteria, and methods for each item to be checked, advice, and post-measures. We conduct various workshops and classes, and set up Q&A committees so that inquiries from members are answered with the help of such activities. In addition, school pharmacists try to improve the knowledge of the school staff on environmental hygiene during their in-service training. They also conduct “drug abuse prevention classes” at school and seek to improve knowledge and recognition of drugs, including “dangerous drugs”.
The major duty of a school pharmacist is to serve as an expert in analysis. School pharmacists must perform regular and thorough assessments based on school environmental health standards. The objectives of the “environmental” component of the pharmacy education model core curriculum include performing analyses corresponding to the regularly checked items of the school environmental health standards. Students of the School of Pharmacy should cultivate their expertise in environmental analysis and environmental health, through practices such as sample collection, analysis operation, and evaluation of test results. As analysis experts, school pharmacists must know the principles and characteristics of analytical methods. The “Methods of Analysis in Health Science” published by the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan, provides comprehensive information on regular items to be cheked in the school environmental health standards, and school pharmacists should use this as a guide in their activities.
People spend more than two thirds of their daily time indoors. Hence, maintaining a healthy indoor environment is indispensable for the prevention of building related illness. In Japan, guidelines for indoor air quality have been established for 13 volatile/semi-volatile organic compounds (VOCs/SVOCs). These guidelines are now under revision by the Committee on Sick House Syndrome: Indoor Air Pollution. In order to gain information on the current indoor air pollutants and their levels, we carried out a nation-wide survey of VOCs and aldehydes in indoor residential air during 2012-2013. In this review, I concisely summarized the current indoor air quality of Japan.
The Japan Ministry of the Environment is conducting a large-scale birth cohort study called the Japan Environment and Children's Study (JECS), which involves 100000 mother-child pairs. Mothers are enrolled during pregnancy, and their children are followed up and studied until they reach the age of 13 years. The JECS started recruiting mothers in January 2011 and completed the registration of more than 103000 mothers in March 2014. The National Institute for Environmental Studies takes the lead in the study programming and implementation in cooperation with the National Centre for Child Health and Development and 15 Regional Centres that reach out to the study participants. In the study, the effects of environmental factors on children's health and development are investigated. The environment in this study is defined not only as air, soil, water, and indoor environments but also as various chemical substances, physical conditions, socioeconomic factors, psychological conditions, lifestyles and community situations. Mothers' and children's exposures to these environmental factors are measured through chemical analyses of biospecimens collected during pregnancy and after birth, questionnaires and computer modelling. The homes of the randomly selected participants (5000) are visited to measure the concentrations of volatile organic compounds, nitrogen and sulphuric oxides and particulate matter. Vacuum dust samples are also collected for chemical analysis. All these data will be combined with the information collected by the dwelling unit observation to assess the exposure of children aged 1.5 and 3 years.
Nitric oxide (NO) plays a pivotal function in neurotransmission, vasodilation, proliferation, and apoptosis in various types of cells via protein S-nitrosylation. Previously we demonstrated that protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) is S-nitrosylated in brains manifesting sporadic neurodegenerative diseases. This modification results in dysfunction of its enzymatic activity and consequently the accumulation of unfolded/misfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). The aim of this study was to clarify the detailed function of NO on unfolded protein response (UPR) branches. We here found that the ER stress sensor IRE1α is S-nitrosylated. Interestingly, NO specifically abrogates ribonuclease activity, but not oligomerization or autophosphorylation of IRE1α. Site-directed mutagenesis revealed that Cys 931 and Cys951 in IRE1 are targets for S-nitrosylation. These mutants expressing in IRE1α knockout MEF showed a resistant role to the inhibition of nuclease activity by NO. Thus, we elucidated the effects of S-nitrosylation on ER stress sensors that mediate the UPR, and thus contribute to cell death pathways.
Studies on endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated degradation (ERAD), in which unfolded proteins accumulated in the ER are selectively transported to the cytosol for degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome system, have been focused on molecular mechanisms in yeast. In human, disruption of the ER quality control system causes various diseases, such as neurodegenerative disease, lifestyle disease, and cancer. However, there are many ERAD genes with unknown physiological and pathological functions. We identified the novel ubiquitin ligase HRD1 involved in ERAD. HRD1 is expressed in brain neurons and protects against ER stress-induced apoptosis. In familial Parkinson's disease, accumulation of Parkin-associated endothelin receptor-like receptor (Pael-R), a substrate of ubiquitin ligase Parkin involved in ERAD, causes ER stress and apoptosis. We demonstrated that HRD1 promotes ubiquitination and degradation of Pael-R and suppresses ER stress and apoptosis induced by Pael-R. Amyloid precursor protein (APP) is processed into amyloid β (Aβ) in Alzheimer's disease. We found that HRD1 promotes APP ubiquitination and degradation, resulting in decreased generation of Aβ. Furthermore, suppression of HRD1 expression causes APP accumulation and Aβ generation associated with ER stress and apoptosis. Interestingly, HRD1 protein levels significantly decreased in the cerebral cortex of Alzheimer's disease patients, possibly because of its insolubilization. We demonstrated that HRD1 protein was insolubilized by oxidative stress, resulting in the accumulation of HRD1 into the aggresome. In conclusion, oxidative stress-induced HRD1 insolubilization might be involved in a vicious cycle of increased Aβ production and Aβ-induced oxidative stress in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis.
Neurodevelopmental disorders, which include autism spectrum disorder, are congenital impairments in the growth and development of the central nervous system. They are mainly accentuated during infancy and childhood. Autism spectrum disorder may be caused by environmental factors, genomic imprinting of chromosome 15q11-q13 regions, and gene defects such as those in genes encoding neurexin and neuroligin, which are involved in synaptogenesis and synaptic signaling. However, regardless of the many reports on neurodevelopmental disorders, the pathogenic mechanism and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders remain unclear. Conversely, it has been reported that endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is involved in neurodegenerative diseases. ER stress is increased by environmental factors such as alcohol consumption and smoking. Here we show the recent results on ER stress-induced neurodevelopmental disorders. ER stress led to a decrease in the mRNA levels of the proneural factors Hes1/5 and Pax6, which maintain an undifferentiated state of the neural cells. This stress also led to a decrease in nestin expression and an increase in beta-III tubulin expression. In addition, dendrite length was shortened by ER stress in microtubule-associated protein-2 (MAP-2) positive cells. However, the ubiquitin ligase HRD1 expression was increased by ER stress. By suppressing HRD1 expression, the ER stress-induced decrease in nestin and MAP-2 expression and increase in beta-III tubulin returned to control levels. Therefore, we suggest that ER stress induces abnormalities in neuronal differentiation and maturation via HRD1 expression. These results suggest that targeting ER stress may facilitate quicker approaches toward the prevention and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders.
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is an organelle in which newly synthesized secretory and membrane proteins are folded and assembled. Various stresses cause the accumulation of unfolded or misfolded proteins in the ER, resulting in ER dysfunction. This condition is termed ER stress. To cope with ER stress, cells activate a signaling pathway termed the unfolded protein response (UPR). Recently, accumulating evidence suggests that the UPR plays a pivotal role in pancreatic β cells. Pancreatic β cells producing a large amount of insulin are highly sensitive when the UPR is impaired. In mammalian cells, three principal ER stress sensors, PERK, IRE1, and ATF6, initiate the UPR. Activated PERK attenuates protein translation through eIF2α phosphorylation to cope with the ER stress. PERK KO mice develop diabetes by 2-4 weeks of age due to progressive β-cell loss. IRE1α noncanonically splices the XBP1 mRNA, leading to the upregulation of the ERAD components and ER molecular chaperones. This pathway is constitutively activated in pancreatic β cells. To clarify the physiological role of the IRE1α pathway in β cells, we generated pancreatic-β-cell-specific IRE1α-conditional KO (cKO) mice and IRE1α-cKO insulinoma cell lines. Here, we show that IRE1α is required for the upregulation of insulin-folding enzymes in pancreatic β cells to balance insulin-folding enzymes with insulin.
Obesity is one of the major risk factors of metabolic syndrome, such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes. Leptin exerts an anti-obesity effect through the Ob-Rb leptin receptor, which is mainly expressed on hypothalamic neuronal cells. Recent evidence indicated that one of the mechanisms of obesity may be the development of leptin resistance. In the present review, we discuss the mechanisms of leptin resistance in obesity, focusing on endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. We previously found that flurbiprofen is a candidate drug for attenuating ER stress and the subsequent development of leptin resistance. We will discuss a possible pharmacological strategy for treating obesity by ameliorating ER stress.
Improvements in the productivity of established mammalian cell lines used for biopharmaceutical production are desirable to increase product yields. Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells are the workhorse used for more than 60% of industrial therapeutic antibody production. Glycoprotein secretion by CHO cells requires intracellular processes including transcription, translation, glycosylation, and secretion. Within these intracellular steps, post-translational processes are rate limiting for production in high-producer cell lines. This review focuses on unfolded protein response-based engineering of CHO cells and details our recent progress in using overexpression of activating transcription factor 4 to promote recombinant protein production.
The advances in my laboratory for the past 20-25 years concerning the chemistry of chalcogen-containing heterocycles are reviewed. The intramolecular cyclization of the chalcogenols (-TeH, -SeH, -SH) into a triple bond or appropriate leaving group produced various chalcogen-containing heterocycles. The reactions of the obtained products were examined: the reactions of 1-benzo- and 2-benzopyrylium salts containing a tellurium or selenium element with several nucleophiles, including alkoxides, amines, the cyanide ion, an active methyl compound (acetone), Grignard reagents, copper reagents, and tin reagents, along with hydrogenation and hydrolysis reactions, provided corresponding chromes or isochromes having various functional groups at the 2- or 1-C position. Isothiocyanate and isoselenocyanate were used as chalcogen sources for the preparation of five- or six-membered heterocycles. In addition, double intramolecular cyclization, ring-expansion reactions, electrophilic cyclization and iodocyclization were also carried out.
Toxicological studies of arsenic compounds were conducted in cultured mammalian cells to investigate the effects of glutathione (GSH) depletion. Dimethylarsinate DMA(V) was not cytotoxic in cells depleted of GSH, but was found to be cytotoxic when GSH was present outside the cells. The results suggested that a reactive form of DMA(V) was generated through interaction with GSH. Dimethylarsine iodide DMI(III) was used as a model compound of DMA(III), and the biological effects were investigated. DMI(III) was about 10000 times more toxic to the cells than DMA(V). Chromosome structural aberrations and numerical changes, such as aneuploidy, were induced by DMI(III). DMA(V) induced multiple foci of the centrosome protein, γ-tubulin, which were colocalized with multipolar spindles in mitotic cells. The multiple foci coalesced into a single dot on disruption of the microtubules (MT). However, reorganization of the MT caused multiple foci of γ-tubulin, suggesting that the induction of centrosome abnormalities by DMA(V) required intact MT. Inhibition of the MT-dependent motor, kinesin, prevented formation of multiple foci of γ-tubulin, which pointed to the involvement of the MT-dependent mitotic motor, kinesin, in the maintenance of centrosome abnormalities. DMI(III) caused abnormal cytokinesis (multipolar division). In addition, DMI(III) caused morphological transformation in Syrian hamster embryo cells. Consideration of the overall process following the centrosome abnormalities caused by DMA(V) suggested a mode of cytotoxicity in which the mitotic centrosome is a critical target.
Monocarba-closo-dodecaborate (1; [closo-CB11H12]−, or C1-carborane anion) is a symmetrical, stable anionic cluster, which possesses low nucleophilicity/basicity and exhibits three-dimensional aromaticity. In contrast to the rich applications of C2-carborane molecules (C2B10H12), the chemistry of the C1-carborane anion as a platform for functional molecules has not been thoroughly studied thus far due to the lack of its efficient functionalization. In particular, no efficient general methods are available for the introduction of aryl and sp2/sp-carbon groups at the carbon vertex of the C1-carborane anion. The unique electronic structure and potential applications of the C1-carborane anion prompted us to investigate methods to functionalize it. We developed a general, efficient C-C cross-coupling reaction of 1 under palladium catalysis which yields a variety of 1-C-functionalized C1-carborane derivatives. The use of copper(I) or lithium species as a transmetalating partner facilitated the cross-coupling process of the sterically hindered C1-carborane anion. The potential application of 1-C-arylated C1-carborane anion derivatives thus obtained were explored, some of which showed potential as pharmacophores and ionic liquid crystal behavior. Furthermore, conjugation between σ- and π-aromatic moieties in 1-C-arylated monocarba-closo-dodecaborate anion derivatives was identified by means of kinetic experimental studies combined with theoretical calculations.
Numerous changes in human lifestyle in modern life increase the risk of disease. Especially, modern sleep and dietary habits are crucial factors affecting lifestyle disease. In terms of sleep, decreases in total sleep time and in rapid eye movement sleep time have been observed in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) patients. From a dietary perspective, mastication during eating has several good effects on systemic, mental, and physical functions of the body. However, few animal experiments have addressed the influence of this decline in sleep duration or of long-term powdered diet feeding on parameters reflecting systemic health. In our studies, we examined both the influence of intermittent sleep deprivation (SD) treatment and long-term powdered diet feeding on emotional behavior in mice, and focused on the mechanisms underlying these impaired behaviors. Our findings were as follows: SD treatment induced hypernoradrenergic and hypodopaminergic states within the frontal cortex. Furthermore, hyperactivity and an explosive number of jumps were observed. Both the hypernoradrenergic state and the jumps were improved by treatment with ADHD therapeutic drugs. On the other hand, long-term powdered diet feeding increased social interaction behaviors. The feeding affected the dopaminergic function of the frontal cortex. In addition, the long-term powdered diet fed mice presented systemic illness signs, such as elevations of blood glucose, and hypertension. This review, describing the SD mice and long-term powdered diet fed mice can be a useful model for elucidation of the mechanism of neuropsychiatric disorders or the discovery of new therapeutic targets in combatting effects of the modern lifestyle.
Iguratimod (IGU), a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug launched in September 2012, has been reported to carry a risk of severe hemorrhages through a suspected interaction with warfarin (WF) in the all-case surveillance and early postmarketing-phase vigilance. To elucidate possible mechanisms of adverse interaction between IGU and WF, we analyzed the effects of IGU on the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of WF in rats. IGU was orally administered to male Wistar rats once daily for 5 d at 10 or 30 mg/kg in combination with WF at an oral dose of 0.25 mg/kg. Coadministration of IGU 30 mg/kg enhanced the anticoagulant activity of WF; prolonged blood coagulation time (prothrombin time and activated partial thromboplastin time) and decreased levels of vitamin K (VK)-dependent blood coagulation factors (II, VII, IX, and X) were observed. On the other hand, the pharmacokinetic parameters of WF including maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) and area under the plasma concentration-time curve from 0 to 24 h (AUC0-24 h) were not affected by the combination with IGU. IGU alone did not change blood coagulation time at doses up to 100 mg/kg, while VK-dependent blood coagulation factors decreased slightly at 30 and 100 mg/kg. These results suggest that the pharmacodynamic effect of IGU on VK-dependent blood coagulation factors is involved in the mechanism of drug-drug interaction of IGU with WF.
We conducted a workshop that aimed to clarify problems with care workers supporting medication use in nursing homes, to propose measures for solving these problems, and to raise awareness of these problems among care workers. Eighteen care workers from different fee-based elderly nursing homes were enrolled in the workshop, and divided into four groups. The participants in these groups identified the issues based on their experiences regarding medication-related incidents, and discussed related problems and viable measures using the KJ method. The issues identified by each group were “dropping a medication”, “wrong resident”, “refusal to take medication”, and “confusion”. To resolve these problems, the participants recommended: “conducting study sessions or testing of manuals and medication knowledge”, “strengthening monitoring systems”, “enhancing information sharing”, etc. The involvement of pharmacists was hardly mentioned, despite the workshop being designed for “medication assistance”. A post-workshop questionnaire revealed that 88.9% of the participants acknowledged an increased awareness of safe assistance in the use of medication. A follow-up questionnaire, distributed approximately seven months after the workshop, revealed that 82.4% of participants applied the experience and knowledge they learned at the workshop to their work. The workshop seemed to raise awareness and lead to preventive measures for safe medication assistance. Communication between care workers and other health care professionals, such as pharmacists, is important to designing and implementing safe medical care in nursing homes.
Since 2012, Matsudo City Hospital has increased the number of pharmacists stationed in the ward on weekday mornings at the emergency care center, the intensive care unit (ICU) and the high care unit (HCU). Multidisciplinary joint meetings and joint conferences are conducted in the emergency care center, and patient and drug information is shared. A 20-year-old man was transferred to our hospital after a traffic accident. He was diagnosed with subarachnoid hemorrhage and brain contusion. He exhibited violent movement and intense restlessness. He was sedated with a continuous intravenous infusion of 5 mg/h midazolam and 20 μg/h fentanyl, with intubation. Propofol was also used intermittently. The midazolam infusion was concluded on day 5 of hospitalization. However, his restlessness recurred so an intravenous drip infusion of 150 mg/h haloperidol was administered. On the 7th day, he developed a high-grade fever, muscle rigidity, perspiration, and leukocytosis, and malignant syndrome or malignant hyperthermia was suspected. For malignant syndrome treatment, he received an intravenous drip infusion of 60 mg dantrolene, followed by the combined oral administration of 100 mg/d dantrolene and 7.5 mg/d bromocriptine. Considering various pharmacological effects, we selected an intravenous drip infusion of 25 mg hydroxyzine hydrochloride as the drug to alleviate restlessness. The patient's course continued without recurrence of malignant syndrome; his symptoms improved because of pharmaceutical care with an awareness of patient benefits through clinical and laboratory findings, consultation with the attending physician, presentation of information on causative and therapeutic drugs, and coordinated planning of a prescription design.