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Articles by K Imai
Total Records ( 9 ) for K Imai
  Y Adachi , R Li , H Yamamoto , Y Min , W Piao , Y Wang , A Imsumran , H Li , Y Arimura , C. T Lee , K Imai , D. P Carbone and Y. Shinomura

Insulin-like growth factor-I receptor (IGF-IR) signaling is required for carcinogenicity and proliferation of gastrointestinal (GI) cancers. We have previously shown significant therapeutic activity for recombinant adenoviruses expressing dominant-negative insulin-like growth factor-I receptor (IGF-IR/dn), including suppression of tumor invasion. In this study, we sought to evaluate the mechanism of inhibition of invasion and the relationship between IGF-IR and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity in GI carcinomas. We analyzed the role of IGF-IR on invasion in three GI cancer cell lines, colorectal adenocarcinoma, HT29; pancreatic adenocarcinoma, BxPC3 and gastric adenocarcinoma, MKN45, using a modified Boyden chamber method and subcutaneous xenografts in nude mice. The impact of IGF-IR signaling on the expression of MMPs and the effects of blockade of matrilysin or IGF-IR on invasiveness were assessed using recombinant adenoviruses, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor NVP-AEW541 and antisense matrilysin. Invasive subcutaneous tumors expressed several MMPs. IGF-IR/dn reduced the expression of these MMPs but especially matrilysin (MMP-7). Insulin-like growth factor (IGF) stimulated secretion of matrilysin and IGF-IR/dn blocked IGF-mediated matrilysin induction in three GI cancers. Both IGF-IR/dn and inhibition of matrilysin reduced in vitro invasion to the same degree. NVP-AEW541 also reduced cancer cell invasion both in vitro and in murine xenograft tumors via suppression of matrilysin. Thus, blockade of IGF-IR is involved in the suppression of cancer cell invasion through downregulation of matrilysin. Strategies of targeting IGF-IR may have significant therapeutic utility to prevent invasion and progression of human GI carcinomas.

  K Yoshida , K Nakachi , K Imai , J. B Cologne , Y Niwa , Y Kusunoki and T. Hayashi

Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Prevention could be improved by identifying susceptible individuals as well as improving understanding of interactions between genes and etiological environmental agents, including radiation exposure. The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-signaling pathway, regulating cellular radiation sensitivity, is an oncogenic cascade involved in lung cancer, especially adenocarcinoma. The cytosine adenine (CA) repeat number polymorphism in the first intron of EGFR has been shown to be inversely correlated with EGFR production. It is hypothesized that CA repeat number may modulate individual susceptibility to lung cancer. Thus, we carried out a case–cohort study within the Japanese atomic bomb (A-bomb) survivor cohort to evaluate a possible association of CA repeat polymorphism with lung cancer risk in radiation-exposed or negligibly exposed (<5 mGy) A-bomb survivors. First, by dividing study subjects into Short and Long genotypes, defined as the summed CA repeat number of two alleles ≤37 and ≥38, respectively, we found that the Short genotype was significantly associated with an increased risk of lung cancer, specifically adenocarcinoma, among negligibly exposed subjects. Next, we found that prior radiation exposure significantly enhanced lung cancer risk of survivors with the Long genotype, whereas the risk for the Short genotype did not show any significant increase with radiation dose, resulting in indistinguishable risks between these genotypes at a high radiation dose. Our findings imply that the EGFR pathway plays a crucial role in assessing individual susceptibility to lung adenocarcinoma in relation to radiation exposure.

  H Suzuki , S Igarashi , M Nojima , R Maruyama , E Yamamoto , M Kai , H Akashi , Y Watanabe , H Yamamoto , Y Sasaki , F Itoh , K Imai , T Sugai , L Shen , J. P. J Issa , Y Shinomura , T Tokino and M. Toyota

A subset of colorectal cancers (CRCs) show simultaneous methylation of multiple genes; these tumors have the CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP). CRCs with CIMP show a specific pattern of genetic alterations, including a high frequency of BRAF mutations and a low frequency of p53 mutations. We therefore hypothesized that genes inactivated by DNA methylation are involved in the BRAF- and p53-signaling pathways. Among those, we examined the epigenetic inactivation of insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 7 (IGFBP7) expression in CRCs. We found that in CRC cell lines, the silencing of IGFBP7 expression was correlated with high levels of DNA methylation and low levels of histone H3K4 methylation. Luciferase and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays in unmethylated cells revealed that p53 induces expression of IGFBP7 upon binding to a p53 response element within intron 1 of the gene. Treating methylated CRC cell lines with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine restored p53-induced IGFBP7 expression. Levels of IGFBP7 methylation were also significantly higher in primary CRC specimens than in normal colonic tissue (P < 0.001). Methylation of IGFBP7 was correlated with BRAF mutations, an absence of p53 mutations and the presence of CIMP. Thus, epigenetic inactivation of IGFBP7 appears to play a key role in tumorigenesis of CRCs with CIMP by enabling escape from p53-induced senescence.

  H Suzuki , E Yamamoto , M Nojima , M Kai , H. o Yamano , K Yoshikawa , T Kimura , T Kudo , E Harada , T Sugai , H Takamaru , T Niinuma , R Maruyama , H Yamamoto , T Tokino , K Imai , M Toyota and Y. Shinomura

Altered expression of microRNA (miRNA) is strongly implicated in cancer, and recent studies have shown that the silencing of some miRNAs is associated with CpG island hypermethylation. To identify epigenetically silenced miRNAs in gastric cancer (GC), we screened for miRNAs induced by treatment with 5-aza-2’-deoxycytidine and 4-phenylbutyrate. We found that miR-34b and miR-34c are epigenetically silenced in GC and that their downregulation is associated with hypermethylation of the neighboring CpG island. Methylation of the miR-34b/c CpG island was frequently observed in GC cell lines (13/13, 100%) but not in normal gastric mucosa from Helicobacter pylori-negative healthy individuals. Transfection of a precursor of miR-34b and miR-34c into GC cells induced growth suppression and dramatically changed the gene expression profile. Methylation of miR-34b/c was found in a majority of primary GC specimens (83/118, 70%). Notably, analysis of non-cancerous gastric mucosae from GC patients (n = 109) and healthy individuals (n = 85) revealed that methylation levels are higher in gastric mucosae from patients with multiple GC than in mucosae from patients with single GC (27.3 versus 20.8%; P < 0.001) or mucosae from H. pylori-positive healthy individuals (27.3 versus 20.7%; P < 0.001). These results suggest that miR-34b and miR-34c are novel tumor suppressors frequently silenced by DNA methylation in GC, that methylation of miR-34b/c is involved in an epigenetic field defect and that the methylation might be a predictive marker of GC risk.

  R Yamada , H Okura , T Kume , K Saito , Y Miyamoto , K Imai , T Tsuchiya , T Maehama , N Okahashi , K Obase , A Hayashida , Y Neishi , T Kawamoto and K. Yoshida

Positive arterial remodeling and thin fibrous cap are characteristics of rupture-prone or vulnerable plaque. The natural course of the fibrous cap thickness and the relationship between serial arterial remodeling and changes in fibrous cap thickness are unknown. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between changes in fibrous cap thickness and arterial remodeling by using optical coherence tomography (OCT) and intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) during 6-month follow-up.

Methods and Results—

Both IVUS and OCT examinations were performed on 108 vessels from 36 patients with ischemic heart disease who underwent percutaneous coronary intervention. Fifty-eight fibroatheromas were selected from 82 nonsignificant, nonculprit lesions (angiographic diameter stenosis, 25% to 75%; plaque burden, >40% by IVUS). Fibroatheroma was defined by OCT as lipid-rich plaque in >1 quadrant that has lipid. Thickness of the fibrous cap was measured by OCT. IVUS and OCT examinations were repeated at 6-month follow-up. Serial changes and relationships between IVUS indices and fibrous cap thickness were investigated. Overall, fibrous cap thickness (98.1±38.9 to 96.9±44.5 µm) as well as IVUS indices did not change significantly within 6 months. The percent changes in fibrous cap thickness correlated negatively and significantly (r=–0.54; P<0.0001; generalized estimating equation adjusted, r=–0.42; P=0.001) with the percent changes in external elastic membrane cross-sectional area.


Arterial remodeling is related to changes in fibrous cap thickness. Positive arterial remodeling is not only an adaptive process, but also related to thinning of the fibrous cap.

  M Idogawa , Y Sasaki , H Suzuki , H Mita , K Imai , Y Shinomura and T. Tokino

Purpose: Gene transfer involving p53 is viewed as a potentially effective cancer therapy, but does not result in a good therapeutic response in all human cancers. The activation of p53 induces either cell cycle arrest or apoptosis. Cell cycle arrest in response to p53 activation is mediated primarily through the induction of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21. Because p21 also has an inhibitory effect on p53-mediated apoptosis, the suppression of p53-induced p21 expression would be expected to result in the preferential induction of apoptosis. However, p21 also has tumor-suppressive properties. In this study, we developed an adenovirus vector that expresses p53 and suppresses p21 simultaneously to enhance p53-mediated apoptosis.

Experimental Design: We constructed a replication-deficient recombinant adenovirus (Ad-p53/miR-p21) that enabled cocistronic expression of the p53 protein and artificial microRNAs that targeted p21, and examined the therapeutic effectiveness of this vector in vitro and in vivo.

Results: The levels of p21 were significantly attenuated following infection with Ad-p53/miR-p21. In colorectal and hepatocellular carcinoma cells, infection with Ad-p53/miR-p21 augmented apoptosis as compared with an adenovirus that expressed p53 alone (Ad-p53/miR-control). Ad-p53/miR-p21 also significantly increased the chemosensitivity of cancer cells to adriamycin (doxorubicin). In a xenograft tumor model in nude mice, tumor volume was significantly decreased following the direct injection of Ad-p53/miR-p21 into the tumor, as compared with the injection of Ad-p53/miR-control.

Conclusion: These results suggest that adenovirus-mediated transduction of p53 and p21-specific microRNAs may be useful for gene therapy of human cancers.

  L. J Kricka , K Imai and P. Fortina

Macro-, micro-, and nanosized arrays of test sites at various densities have emerged as important types of analytical devices in response to the need for high volume parallel analysis in both the research and the clinical laboratory.


This review explores the diversity of arrays of reaction vessels and arrays of reagents and of samples, with an emphasis on the earliest descriptions of the different variations. The scope of such arrays includes linear and 2-dimensional arrays of reaction vessels (e.g., microwell strips, microplates); linear and 2-dimensional arrays of reagents arrayed on pillars and posts; beads in wells; and reagents randomly arrayed (or dis-ordered) for use in next-generation sequencing. Micro- and nanofabrication technologies have been applied to the miniaturization of arrays to increase array density (e.g., DNA probe arrays) and produce arrays of analytical structures (e.g., cantilevers, nanoelectrospray nozzles).


Arrays are now firmly established in many types of analytical devices, and this analytical format has gained widespread acceptance owing to the advantages of high-throughput automation and multiplex analysis. Ongoing "big biology" genomic and proteomic studies will ensure the continued dominance of array-based methods into the foreseeable future.

  Y Mezaki , N Yamaguchi , K Yoshikawa , M Miura , K Imai , H Itoh and H. Senoo

Hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) are the major site of retinoid storage, and their activation is a key process in liver fibrogenesis. We have previously shown that expression of the retinoic acid receptor alpha (RAR) is upregulated in activated rat HSCs at a posttranscriptional level and that these RAR proteins showed a speckled distribution in the cytosol, despite their possession of a nuclear localization signal (NLS). In this report, we further characterize these cytosolic RAR proteins by using exogenously expressed RAR protein fragments or mutants tagged with a green fluorescent protein. Substitution of four amino acids, 161–164 from lysine to alanine, abolished the NLS. Exogenously expressed RAR protein fragments containing an NLS were localized exclusively in the nuclei of activated rat HSCs and never colocalized with the endogenous RAR proteins in the cytosol, suggesting that the NLS of endogenous RAR proteins is masked. Biochemical analysis showed that 65% of RAR proteins in activated HSCs were insoluble in a mixture of detergents. The insolubility of RAR proteins makes it difficult to identify RAR proteins in activated HSCs. Therefore, we propose that insoluble, speckled cytosolic distribution of RAR proteins represents a new marker of HSC activation. (J Histochem Cytochem 57:687–699, 2009)

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