Division of Animal Sciences
Animal Immune and Cell Biology Research Unit
To improve disease resistance in livestock animals, the Animal Immune and Cell Biology Research Unit is involved in basic research on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of innate immune systems - mainly on the macrophage-lineage cells. We have established immortalized cell lines of microglia (brain macrophage) and Kupffer cells (liver macrophages), which reliably retain their original immune functions. We are investigating the molecular mechanisms of immune signal transduction and the production and release of inflammatory cytokines from these cells. In addition, we are using the pig genome database to investigate genetic variations in specific pig populations for their pattern recognition receptors that are possibly related to the inherent resistance to infectious diseases. Furthermore, we are developing novel complex cell culture systems by using a collagen vitrigel® membrane (composed of high-density collagen fibrils) to validate chemical efficacy or toxicity in vitro. This technique may possibly be applied as an alternative to classical drug tests using experimental animals.
“Vitrigel®” is regesterde trademard of the NIAS.
Animal Immune and Cell Biology Research Unit is involved in basic research on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of innate immune systems to improve disease resistance in livestock animals. Infections by the pathogenic microorganisms are detected by specific receptors in innate immune cells, such as macrophages. Then, the information is transmitted through the signal transduction pathway to activate specific gene expressions for immune responses, such as production and release of inflammatory cytokines. There are several polymorphisms in the pattern recognition receptors, which affect genetic resistance to the disease.
Animal Immune and Cell Biology Research Unit develops novel cell culture systems to replace toxicological studies with experimental animals. Human cells can be cultured on one or both sides of a collagen vitrigel® membrane to reproduce specific tissue architecture as it occurs in vivo. These complex culture models can be used to validate chemical toxicities or efficacies in vitro, which may possibly be applied as alternatives for classical drug tests using experimental animals.