Molecular Pharmacology, Matrix Biology and Medicine

Research Summary

Many organs and tissues such as lung, arteries, and skin, require elasticity for their function. Aging-associated loss of elasticity in these organs and tissues result in emphysema, arteriosclerosis, and loose skin. Therefore, loss of elasticity is an essential aspect of human aging.
Tissue elasticity is provided by an exracellular matrix, elastic fibers. Assembly of elastic fibers requires microfibril formation, deposition of elastin onto microfibrils, and cross-linking of elastin by an enzyme lysyl oxidase. However, the molecular mechanisms of these processes have not been well-understood, and hence there has not been a method to regenerate elastic fibers. These are the subjects of our research. We identified several secreted molecules required for elastic fiber assembly, and are aiming at elastic fiber regeneration as a therapy for aging-related diseases.