The Division of Toxicology and Health Science at Sanyo-Onoda City University aims to extend human life through understanding of hazardous materials
Disease prevention will contribute to the extension of human healthy life expectancy – toxicology is one of the sciences for integrating various knowledge such as biology, chemistry, etc to clarify the adverse health effects of hazardous materials. Elucidation of the mechanism of toxicity caused by these materials is also one of the major roles of Toxicology. The obtained knowledge are useful for the prevention of diseases and for maintain human health. The adverse effects of the hazardous materials on the fetus and newborn whose body’s defence system are not fully developed is important for maintain the health for next generation. Research focus of our division (Division of Toxicology and Health Science, Sanyo-Onoda City University) is the adverse effects on the fetus and newborn caused by environmental chemicals and nanoparticles that are exposed in prenatal (developmental) period.
The developmental period is the time when stem cells are actively proliferating and differentiating, and it is an important time for each cell to acquire the function in vivo. Maternally exposed chemical substances or particulate matters are sometimes transferred to foetus via umbilical vein. We speculated that alteration of the expression levels of genes and proteins induced by maternal exposure to chemical substances or particulate matters affects proliferation and differentiation of stem cells, and development process may be disrupted.
Epigenetics is a branch of the genetic sciences that concerns heritable factors that are not directly encoded for in DNA sequences. Whilst these phenomena are heritable, they can also change during the life of a person and play a key role in the development of a human. DNA methylation is one such change whereby the bases cytosine can be methylated. This physical change alters how the various on DNA interact with the methylated sequence. This can result in multiple effects, but one is the phenomenon of methylation in promoters repressing gene transcription, which is the first step towards the production of proteins that affect the cell physically. The methylation state of DNA changes heavily during development, however the wrong changes at the wrong time can lead to the wrong genes being expressed. This, in turn, would result in abnormal development and associated pathologies. Our division highlight whether there are any significant changes to DNA methylation in the foetus or newborn following exposure to environmental chemicals or nanoparticles.