Department of Clinical Nutrition
One of the reasons of a rapid increase in the number of Japanese people with lifestyle-related diseases is collapsed nutritional balance, which could lead to development of diseases by interacting with genetic factors or by deteriorating normal physiological functions. This department therefore undertakes research to elucidate the detail mechanisms to develop lifestyle-related diseases, focusing on diet and nutrition. Based on which, we aim to establish therapeutic and preventive methods for these diseases.
Section of Metabolic Syndrome
It is recognized that lifestyle-related diseases (e.g. diabetes) could be developed by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Following the concepts that common diseases could be caused by common genetic variants (single nucleotide polymorphism: SNP), this section has been working on identification of type 2 diabetes-susceptibility genes among Japanese through genome-wide association study (GWAS). However, it has been recently acknowledged that these common diseases could be also caused by relatively less common genetic variants (SNP). Based on this hypothesis, we attempt to identify new type 2 diabetes-susceptibility genes among Japanese, using imputation or a next-generation sequencer.
Furthermore, based on the above findings, we also investigate what genetic and environmental factors could cause obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome, and how these factors could interact each other.
Section of Nutritional Therapy
Excess energy intake, especially increased fat intake, is one of the major causes of diabetes and obesity. It is reported that increased fat intake, with total energy intake being unchanged, resulted in the increasing number of people with diabetes in post-war Japan.
This section investigates the mechanism how high-fat diet affects obesity and diabetes using genetically modified diabetes- and obesity-model animals. Based on which, we aim to identify the best nutritional balance for preventing lifestyle-related diseases and also to contribute to the relevant national policies.