Read more

Uncovering the mechanisms for increasing adipose (fat)  tissue quality

The Japanese have a saying, “a moderate diet is the best medicine,” and, regardless of whether you are talking about humans or lab mice, a moderate restriction of food intake appears to be a universally effective intervention for life extension in animals.

The Higami Laboratory in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Medicinal and Life Science is researching why caloric restriction increases longevity, focusing specifically on mitochondria in adipose tissue.

Many people view adipose tissue, or ‘fat tissue,’ negatively as a harmful substance that makes us fat. However, in recent years we have come to understand that adipose tissue is responsible for secreting a variety of different bioactive molecules and that it can have good and bad effects on the body depending upon tissue quality.

The Higami Laboratory carried out research looking at both calorie-restricted mice and obese mice.

An analysis of the adipose tissue from the calorie-restricted mice and the obese mice revealed characteristics of good and bad adipose tissue.

The researchers are studying the mechanisms involved in normalizing adipocytes (fat cells) that have undergone hypertrophy.

A mechanism has been identified whereby a modulation of certain mitochondria-related protein expressions in hypertrophic adipocytes (fat cells) of the obese mice caused adipocytes to shrink in size; verification of these results is currently ongoing.

Preparing for the coming “super-aging” society

Japan and many countries around the world are is preparing to face the challenges of the “super-aging” society expected in the near future. The Higami Laboratory continues to work toward the development of medicines that will help cut obesity, improve metabolism and provide better health and quality of life. 

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences Department of Medicinal and Life Science
Professor Yoshikazu HIGAMI

■ Main research content

Fields of research encompass molecular pathology, metabology, controlled longevity and aging, anti-obesity medications, and metabolic enhancement medications. The Higami Laboratory is working on the development of anti-obesity and metabolic enhancement medications that will help in preventing the onset of various illnesses associated with aging, as well as help extend healthy lifespan.

Recommended Initiatives