Laboratory of Cell Growth and Differentiation Doesn't recruit students for the academic year 2019

Professor Atsushi MIYAJIMA
E-mail: miyajima{at}
Lab HP


Development, pathogenesis and regeneration of the liver

 Extracellular mediators such as cytokines play crucial roles for development and pathogenesis of organs. We have been working on the mechanisms underlying liver development, pathogenesis and regeneration by focusing on extracellular signaling molecules and their intracellular signaling pathways.
The liver is a central organ for homeostasis and exhibits numerous metabolic functions. In addition, it is a major hematopoietic tissue in mammalian embryos and changes its characteristics dramatically during development. Hepatoblasts, embryonic liver stem cells, emerge from the foregut endoderm and differentiate to hepatocytes and bile ducts. This process involves coordination of various liver nonparenchymal cells such as endothelial cells, mesenchymal cells,mesothelial cells and blood cells. We have generated a panel of monoclonal antibodies for cell surface proteins on each type of liver cells. By using these antibodies we have developed methods to isolate each type of liver cells and used them to dissect cellular interactions during development.
 The liver is a unique organ with regenerative potential. Upon partial hepatectomy, the remaining cells enlarge and replicate to repair, whereas liver progenitors emerge in response to several kinds of severe liver injury. Moreover, chronic liver injury often leads to fibrosis, cirrhosis and carcinogenesis. We are also interested in molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis and regeneration

iPS cells and regenerative medicine

 Islets transplantation has been developed to treat insulindependent diabetic patients. However, the donor shortage is a major problem for this therapy and it is necessary to develop a system to prepare sufficient quantity of functional islets. We have developed a culture system to generate islets from mouse fetal pancreatic cells and we are working on the development of functional islets form iPS cells by applying this system.
 1. Takase H., Itoh T.,Wang T.,Koji T.,Akira S.,Takikawa Y.,and Miyajima A.FGF7 is a functional niche signal required for stimulation of adult liver progenitor cells that support liver regeneration. Genes and Development 27, 169-181, 2013.
 2. Miyaoka Y.,Ebato K.,Kato H.,Arakawa S.,Shimizu S., and Miyajima A. Hypertrophy and Unconventional Cell Division of Hepatocytes Underlie Liver Regeneration. Current Biology 22, 1166-1175, 2012.
 3. Saito H., Takeuchi M., Chida K., and Miyajima A. . Generation of glucose-responsive functional islets with a three-dimensional structure from mouse fetal pancreatic cells and iPS cells in vitro. PLoS One 6, e28209, 2011.



The University of Tokyo
Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo

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