Research Report 2019: Elucidation of the mechanism of arrhythmia during myocardial infarction by heart-on-a-chip
The principal investigator, Ken Takahashi, traveled to Boston, USA from the end of July 2018 to begin research at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University. His original plan was to complete the joint research at the end of July 2019 and return to Japan.
Related: Joining Harvard Medical School
However, Takahashi joined the “Blood-Brain Barrier Team” within the Wyss Institute, which has strong ties with industry, including pharmaceutical companies. As a result of the development of the fascinating project, he extended the research period in Boston by 4 months, which led him to form a network with about 50 excellent researchers from all over the world.
Common mechanism for myocardial infarction and stroke
At Harvard, Takahashi developed a model of ischemia–reperfusion injury on the blood-brain-barrier-on-a-chip. Just as ischemia–reperfusion injury causes myocardial infarction in the heart, it causes stroke in the brain. His original interest in myocardial infarction has now extended into brain ischemia–reperfusion injury as well, since there seems to be a common molecular mechanism in these two distant diseases.
My experience at Harvard was amazing. People are good and brilliant. Collaboration is very active. It is extremely difficult to imitate the wonderful research environment at the Wyss Institute, but it must be done to improve the science environment in Japan.Ken Takahashi
Takahashi acquired techniques, such as cell culture, perfusion of culture medium and blood, and live imaging on organ chips, at Harvard University. On the other hand, at Okayama University in Japan, his team established a method to reproduce ischemia–reperfusion using cardiomyocytes differentiated from human iPS cells.
The development of this ischemic heart disease model of human iPS cardiomyocytes has brought great results. As a result, a research paper was published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. In addition, Takahashi received a formal submission request from the Journal of Visualized Experiments. This achievement was published in a press release at EurekAlert!, an affiliate of the world-leading Science journal, and was introduced in eight overseas media. Furthermore, Okayama University has decided to apply for a patent for research on the efficiency of myocardial differentiation induction by co-culturing iPS cells and gingival fibroblasts.
I want to develop this research further by combining the organ chip technology of Harvard with the iPS cardiomyocytes of Okayama University. In addition, I hope to identify the common molecular mechanism between myocardial infarction and stroke in order to develop an effective prevention strategy for these diseases.Ken Takahashi
This study was supported by the Fund for the Promotion of Joint International Research (Fostering Joint International Research), 17KK0168.
* * *
Takahashi Lab at Okayama University uses principles of physiology, cellular and molecular biology, and biophysics. The purpose of the lab is to develop science and medicine by unveiling the mechanisms of diseases through collaborations with scientists, epidemiologists, and corporate alliances. The alliance includes Harvard University, Boston University, Tokyo University of Science, and PD Aerospace, Ltd.