Nutritional Physiology

Molecular and human nutrition

Seeking to understand a molecular basis for the prevention of metabolic diseases through control of digestion/absorption and metabolism of carbohydrates

The risk reduction of metabolic diseases including diabetes and obesity is one of the major issues affecting nutritional impact on human health and longevity. Increasing evidence supports the concept that postprandial hyperglycemia is strongly associated with insulin resistance and the progression of diabetes. We are currently investigating nutrient-mediated epigenetic regulation of the genes critically involved in digestion and absorption of carbohydrates in the small intestine, as well as those related to insulin resistance in the adipose tissue. We hope to find an effective approach to slow the rates of digestion/absorption of carbohydrates with modest insulin secretion, and ameliorate insulin resistance with reduced oxidative stress and inflammation, which would be beneficial, especially in Asian people.

1. Nutrients/food factors-mediated transcriptional regulation of genes in the small intestine and the adipose tissue
We have found that dietary carbohydrate evokes epigenetic changes in the expression of the genes related to carbohydrate digestion/absorption in the small intestine and the genes related to insulin resistance in the adipose tissue, through modulating transcription elongation complex.
2. Significance of the rates of carbohydrate digestion/absorption in the pathophysiology of diabetes
We have found that an α-glucosidase inhibitor, miglitol, reduces postprandial hyperglycemia and suppresses the gene expression of inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and TNF α in peripheral leukocytes of animals as well as in type 2 diabetic patients.
3. Validation and application of biomarkers for postprandial hyperglycemia and related inflammation for assessing the risks of metabolic diseases
Cross-sectional studies of middle-aged men revealed that serum ALT is negatively associated with adiponectin, a marker for insulin sensitivity, and that serum γ-GTP is associated with IL-1β, a proinflammatory cytokine which is a marker for postprandial hyperglycemia.


Toshinao godaPhD


Kazue HonnmaPhD

Details are here



Carbohydrate signal-mediated transcriptional control of the genes through histone modifications along with a recruitment of transcription elongation factor (a model)


Practical biomarkers for inflammation-mediated risks of metabolic diseases


  1. Eur. J. Nutr., (2012), in press
  2. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commu. (2012), in press
  3. Metabolism, 60, 1560–1565 (2011)
  4. Biochem. J. 435, 43-53 (2011)
  5. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commu., 404, 223–227 (2011)
  6. Metabolism, 60, 914-922 (2011)
  7. J. Nutr. Biochem. 22, 334-343 (2011)
  8. Metabolism, 59, 1816–1822 (2010)
  9. Metabolism, 59, 1442–1447 (2010)
  10. J. Agr. Food Chem., 58, 6923-6927 (2010)
  11. Metabolism, 59, 1465–1471 (2010)
  12. Mol. Nutr. Food Res., 54, 1445–1451 (2010)
  13. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commu., 392, 16–21 (2010)
  14. Nutrition, 26, 1151–1156 (2010)
  15. Eur. J. Pharmacol., 624, 51–57 (2009)
  16. J. Agr. Food Chem., 57, 8049–8055 (2009)