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1.  Inflammation as a cardiovascular risk factor and pulse wave velocity as a marker of early-stage atherosclerosis in the Japanese population 
Inflammation and pulse wave velocity (PWV) are a potential risk factor and marker, respectively, for atherosclerosis in the primary prevention setting. Atherosclerosis is now generally accepted to be an inflammatory disorder of the arterial wall, and the high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) level has been reported to be a strong predictor of cardiovascular events. High-sensitivity-CRP is associated with two factors related to inflammation: (1) the local production of CRP by atheromatous tissue or coronary artery smooth muscle cells and (2) adipose tissue as a potent source of inflammatory cytokines. Based on studies in North America and Europe, hs-CRP has been established as a cardiovascular risk factor and a cut-off value has been recommended. However, Japanese have lower hs-CRP values than their Western counterparts, partly because Japanese have a lower body mass index (BMI), which correlates positively to hs-CRP, and partly because lifestyle and genetic factors can affect hs-CRP values. Therefore, a cut-off value needs to be established by cohort studies for the Japanese population. Carotid-femoral PWV is most commonly measured by applanation tonometry, particularly in Europe, but this method is critically dependent upon the accurate placing of transducers over the arteries and is both time-consuming and complex. A novel device has been recently developed in Japan that measures brachial-ankle PWV (baPWV) using a volume-rendering method. Brachian-ankle PWV is a suitable screening method because of its technical simplicity and shorter measurement time. It is associated not only with conventional cardiovascular risk factors but also with new risk factors, such as inflammation, γ-glutamyltransferase, chronic kidney disease, and psychosocial factors. However, a suitable cut-off value has yet to be established.
PMCID: PMC2684804  PMID: 19568843
Arterial stiffness; Atherosclerosis; C-reactive protein; Inflammation; Pulse wave velocity
2.  Effects of Prenatal Exposure to Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Dioxins on Mental and Motor Development in Japanese Children at 6 Months of Age 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2005;114(5):773-778.
Several studies have shown that prenatal and/or postnatal background-level exposure to environmental chemicals, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins, induces adverse effects on the neurodevelopment of children. However, other studies have not detected any harmful influences on neurodevelopment. Furthermore, except in western countries, no developmental tests have been carried out in relation to detailed assessment of exposure to PCBs and dioxins. In this study (the Hokkaido Study on Environment and Children’s Health), the effect of prenatal exposure to background levels of PCBs and dioxins on infant neurodevelopment in Japan/Sapporo was elucidated. The associations between the total or individual isomer level of PCBs and dioxins in 134 Japanese pregnant women’s peripheral blood and the mental or motor development of their 6-month-old infants were evaluated using the second edition of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. The mean level of total toxicity equivalency quantity (TEQ) was 18.8 (4.0–51.2) pg/g lipid in blood of 134 mothers. After adjustment for potential confounding variables, the total TEQ value was shown not to be significantly associated with mental developmental index (MDI) or psychomotor developmental index (PDI). However, the levels of one polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin (PCDD) isomer, total PCDDs, and total PCDDs/polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) were significantly negatively associated with MDI, and the levels of two PCDD isomers and three PCDF isomers were significantly negatively associated with the PDI. In conclusion, the background-level exposure of several isomers of dioxins during the prenatal period probably affects the motor development of 6-month-old infants more than it does their mental development.
PMCID: PMC1459935  PMID: 16675436
dioxins; infant development; maternal blood; polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); prenatal exposure
3.  Indoor airborne mold spores in newly built dwellings 
To investigate the relationships between sick building syndrome and mold in newly-built dwellings.
Symptoms of 61 residents in 18 dwellings were surveyed by standardized questionnaires. Mold sampling was done by gravity sampling using an open Petri dish. Potato dextrose agar (PDA) and dichloran-18% glycerol agar (DG-18) were used as the culture medium.
There were 6 dwellings in which at least one inhabitant complained of one or more symptoms and 12 dwellings in which none of the inhabitants complained of symptoms. There was a tendency for the dwellings with inhabitants reporting symptoms to have larger colony forming units (CFU) on PDA than those without inhabitants reporting symptoms (p=0.1), but there was no difference in DG-18 result. There was a tendency for the dwellings with inhabitants reporting symptoms to have larger CFU ofCladosporium on PDA than those without (p=0.08), but there was no difference in DG-18 result. Significantly moreUlocladium sp. was detected in the dwellings with inhabitants reporting symptoms than in those without (p=0.03).Cladosporium cladosporioides was detected in all the dwellings with inhabitants reporting symptoms and 75% of the dwellings without.Cladosporium macrocarpum andCladosporium herbarum were detected in 33% of the dwellings with inhabitants reporting e symptoms and none of the dwellings without (p=0.1).
Cladosporium was dominant in the Japanese newly-built dwellings studied, andCladosporium andUlocladium were probably associated with the residents’ symptoms in these newly-built dwellings.
PMCID: PMC2723256  PMID: 21432155
mold; sick building syndrome; Cladosporium; Ulocladium
4.  Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Related Perfluorinated Compounds in Human Maternal and Cord Blood Samples: Assessment of PFOS Exposure in a Susceptible Population during Pregnancy 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2004;112(11):1204-1207.
Fluorinated organic compounds (FOCs), such as perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), and perfluorooctane sulfonylamide (PFOSA), are widely used in the manufacture of plastic, electronics, textile, and construction material in the apparel, leather, and upholstery industries. FOCs have been detected in human blood samples. Studies have indicated that FOCs may be detrimental to rodent development possibly by affecting thyroid hormone levels. In the present study, we determined the concentrations of FOCs in maternal and cord blood samples. Pregnant women 17–37 years of age were enrolled as subjects. FOCs in 15 pairs of maternal and cord blood samples were analyzed by liquid chromatography–electrospray mass spectrometry coupled with online extraction. The limits of quantification of PFOS, PFOA, and PFOSA in human plasma or serum were 0.5, 0.5, and 1.0 ng/mL, respectively. The method enables the precise determination of FOCs and can be applied to the detection of FOCs in human blood samples for monitoring human exposure. PFOS concentrations in maternal samples ranged from 4.9 to 17.6 ng/mL, whereas those in fetal samples ranged from 1.6 to 5.3 ng/mL. In contrast, PFOSA was not detected in fetal or maternal samples, whereas PFOA was detected only in maternal samples (range, < 0.5 to 2.3 ng/mL, 4 of 15). Our results revealed a high correlation between PFOS concentrations in maternal and cord blood (r2 = 0.876). However, we did not find any significant correlations between PFOS concentration in maternal and cord blood samples and age bracket, birth weight, or levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone or free thyroxine. Our study revealed that human fetuses in Japan may be exposed to relatively high levels of FOCs. Further investigation is required to determine the postnatal effects of fetal exposure to FOCs.
PMCID: PMC1247483  PMID: 15289168
cord blood; fluorinated organic compounds; human; PFOA; PFOS; PFOSA; pregnancy

Results 1-4 (4)