Welcome to Dr. Jiro Nakano, a visiting scientist in the Muscle Biophysics Laboratory until March 2011. Dr. Nakano is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical & Occupational Therapy and a member of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Nagasaki University in Nagasaki, Japan. He also directs the Laboratory of Basic Physical Therapy Science at Nagasaki University.
Dr. Nakano has performed muscle research for the last fifteen years investigating muscle atrophy, pain, myositis and other muscular dysfunction using the different animal models. This research has mainly focused on skeletal muscle tissue, and its relationships to joint, peripheral nerve, skin or spinal cord tissue depending on the particular study. During these investigations, he has employed histochemistry, immunohistochemistry, and the biochemical techniques of ELISA and Western Blotting method in addition to electron microscopy.
A primary area of interest is the investigations of physical stimulation in order to reverse atrophy and facilitate muscle performance. Given that it is often very difficult to carry out adequate physical activity and exercise during many situations when patients undergo disuse atrophy, he has investigated alternate means of maintaining muscle strength and function including the application of heat and low level laser in particular. These modalities can stimulate muscle growth via two alternate cellular pathways (see diagram below). A heat stimulus can induce Heat Shock Protein 72, which in turn promotes protein synthesis and inhibits protein degradation. Low level laser, on the other hand, can promote the activation and the proliferation of satellite cells (stem cells) and increase growth factors that are important precursors for muscle regeneration (Fig.1). These postulates were supported by recent studies of a rat model that underwent disuse atrophy for 14 days by hindlimb suspension. Heat stimulation using a warm bath (42ºC; 60min) or low level laser irradiation (Ga-Al-As laser; 0.6 J / cm2) increased heat shock protein 72 or increased satellite cells and growth factors, respectively [Nakano J, et al. Low-level laser irradiation promotes the recovery of atrophied gastrocnemius skeletal muscle in rats. Exp Physiol. 2009 Sep 94(9):1005-15].
Other studies by Dr. Nakano have investigated 1) the development of the effective exercise for the muscular dystrophy, 2) the influence of exercise on plasticity of the nervous system on spinal cord injury 3) the investigation of the cutaneous tactile allodynia associated with immobilization of joint and muscle, and 4) the development of the polymyositis model rat. These animal models have provided a foundation to examine cellular and molecular processes involved in rehabilitation and physical therapy.
Dr. Jiro Nakano will be with us until March 2011 and can be contacted using his home email while Dr Reid’s Lab. Contact information in Japan is:
1-7-1 Sakamoto-machi, Nagasaki 852-8520, JAPAN
Phone and FAX number: +81-95-819-7967