Integrative Physiology



Professor: Tatsuo Watanabe
Associate Professor: Satoshi Koba 
Assistant Professor:  Yuki Yoshimura

Features of the Division

It is well known that the physiology of animals is regulated by the nervous, endocrine and immune systems. The Division of Integrative Physiology, Department of Functional, Morphological and Regulatory Science conducts research on those regulatory mechanisms, and provides medical education , such as basic neurology and basic endocrinology. The atmosphere of the Division is fairly bright and active among the young medical students. We are training them to get them to become promising doctors and/or researchers.

Research projects

1. Green odor: its effect on the stress-induced physiological and pathological responses
Green odor (a mixture of equal amounts of trans-2-hexenal and cis-3-hexenol) have a relieving and sedative effect on animals exposed to acutely stressful situations. Indeed, acute stress-induced elevations in plasma ACTH and corticosterone are reduced by inhalation of the odor in rats. Recently we found that green odor can prevent the skin-barrier disruption induced by chronic restraint stress in rats. On the other hand, chronic maternal stress during pregnancy results in the "prenatally stressed" offspring displaying behavioral and neuroendocrine alterations that persist into adulthood. We reported that inhalation of green odor by stressed dams inhibits certain indices of prenatal stress in their offspring. All these effects could be attributable to inhibition by the odor of stress-induced activation of the stress-related brain regions such as amygdala and hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus. We are currently studying about the effects of the green odor on the multiple stress-related disorders.

2. Fever and two peptides, angiotensin II (ANG II) and natriuretic peptide (NP)
It is well known that a bacterial endotoxin causes fever by inducing macrophages to synthesize and release pyrogenic cytokines which stimulates an increase in body temperature by its action on the central nervous system. We report that ANG II and NP, two peptides regulating blood pressure and body fluid, act as modulators for fever induction. We are studying about the mechanism of such modulations.

3. Autonomic nervous system function in health and disease
Our research efforts have been made to better understand neural mechanisms by which the autonomic nervous system is regulated in response to acute stress in normal and pathological physiological states. During exercise, sympathetic nervous system activity is increased. In cardiovascular disease such as heart failure, the sympathoexcitation during exercise is enhanced. Our recent studies performed in a rat heart failure model have revealed that the central and peripheral neural mechanisms become abnormal in this disease, thereby contributing to the excess sympathoexcitation during exercise. Our current research projects seek to 1) identify the roles played by central and peripheral neural signals in autonomic regulation, 2) explore the mechanisms that enhance neural signals in disease states, and 3) investigate the effects of exercise training and pharmacological treatments on the autonomic dysfunction observed in disease states.