Hokkaido University Research Profiles

Life Sciences

Metabolism of Biological Components and Pre-symptomatic Disorder

Elucidation of the mechanism of non-infectious pathogenesis by considering the metabolism of biological components: Application as a system of evaluating the functionality of foods

Based on the metabolic analysis of biological components (bile acids, minerals, etc.), we conduct research on the elucidation of the pathogenesis of various diseases and the establishment of pre-symptomatic disorder models using laboratory animals. We aim to elucidate the point of action in prevention of disease onset via dietary intervention.

Content of research

The composition of bile acids synthesized by the liver fluctuates with aging and excessive energy intake, and that can be estimated under these conditions. Therefore, by feeding a very small amount of a specific bile acids to experimental animals, it is possible to create a state that mimics the bile acid environment in the corresponding situation. We have found that this results in fatty liver and related pathologies. We also found that a mild deficiency of zinc is a pre-symptomatic disorder model for ulcerative colitis. These findings indicate that minor metabolic changes that occur continuously due to dietary bias (excess or deficiency) are involved in the onset of infectious and non-infectious diseases, and that the experimental system itself, which mimics the situation by controlling dietary components, can serve as a model of pre-symptomatic disorders. Currently, we are constructing various pre-symptomatic disorder models and analyze their pathogenic mechanisms. We are also using these systems to evaluate the functionality of foods.

Potential for social implementation

  • ・Functional evaluation of foods
  • ・Search of targets for drug discovery

Appealing points to industry and local governments

We are conducting research to elucidate the relationship between minor metabolic abnormalities of biological components caused by unbalanced dietary habits and the resulting development of diseases. If the point at which foods act can be clarified by following the process of disease onset and aggravation, it can itself become a target for drug discovery for disease prevention and functional foods. It is expected that these metabolic components will contribute to the development of clinical tests and the improvement of daily dietary habits.

2022/6/24Update ,2022/5/27Released