Rinsho Shinkeigaku (Clinical Neurology)

Presidential Address

My way to "Keep Pioneering": Integrated neuroscience and immunology research produces a paradigm shift for intractable neurological disease

Jun-ichi Kira, M.D., Ph.D.1)

1)Department of Neurology, Neurological Institute, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University

The motto of Prof. Yoshigoro Kuroiwa, who established the first independent neurology department in Japan at Kyushu University, is "Keep Pioneering". His students have followed this motto in all fields. I hereby present my efforts to keep pioneering in the following fields: (1) multiple sclerosis (MS); (2) central nervous system (CNS) involvement associated with peripheral atopic inflammation; and (3) care network for patients with intractable neurological disease. In MS, I propose that Th1/Th17 cell-mediated connexin astrocytopathy may play a critical role in producing huge demyelinating lesions in MS, neuromyelitis optica (NMO), and Baló's concentric sclerosis. I discovered a peculiar myelitis that occurred in patients with atopic disorders, and designated it atopic myelitis. In this condition, allodynia and neuropathic pain are cardinal features, regardless of the presence or absence of spinal cord MRI lesions. We found that peripheral atopic inflammation in mice produces allodynia as well as activation of microglia and astroglia in the spinal cord. It is important to involve a variety of medical specialists and care coordinators for collaborative work on medical and social care issues for people with intractable disease. The motto of "Keep Pioneering" in neurology covers not only advanced research for the creation of new therapies for intractable neurological disease, but also caring for actual people with intractable disease, which I believe is the corporate social responsibility of our neurological society. I think that "Keep Pioneering" is a challenging process that never ends throughout one's life.
Full Text of this Article in Japanese PDF (2327K)

(CLINICA NEUROL, 54: 939|946, 2014)
key words: multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica, atopic myelitis, T cell, glia, connexin

(Received: 22-May-14)