Internal Medicine

Respiratory Medicine

  • Professor: Masaharu Nishimura
  • Specially Appointed Professor: Ichizo Tsuzjino
  • Associate Professor: Satoshi Konno
  • Assistant Professor: Hiroshi Ohira
  • Assistant Professor: Houman Goudarzi*
  • Assistant Professor: Hidenori Mizugaki
  • Phone: +81-11-706-5911
  • FAX: +81-11-706-7899
  • *concurrent
Being one of the leading departments in respiratory medicine in Japan, we have been covering a variety of diseases, including COPD, interstitial lung diseases, bronchial asthma and lung cancer. Research activities include a wide range of topics from bench to bedside, particularly focusing on COPD, bronchial asthma, lung cancer, and diagnostic bronchology. Some of faculty members are internationally well-known, and international atmosphere is always prevailing. Presence of a group of physicians who specialize in cardiovascular and/or metabolic diseases in our department provides unique advantages for us in research as well as in clinical settings. Our members are highly motivated and heading together to achieve better understanding of targeted diseases and better patient care.


There are 4 major research groups, 1) Lung injury and repair group, 2) Immunologic lung disease group, 3) Lung cancer group, and 4) Cardiovascular and metabolic disease group.
COPD is one of the target diseases in our long-term research project, and we are internationally leading in imaging analysis of airway disease and use of laser capture microdisection for gene analysis of bronchioles and/or other target compartments of the lung. We are using these techniques to elucidate structure/function, pathogenesis, and pathobiology. We are also interested in interstitial lung disease and effect of aging on lung injury and repair.
Asthma and sarcoidosis are main targets of the immunologic lung disease group. We are covering a wide range of studies from animal models to human genetics, particularly, in asthma.
Lung cancer group is interested in immunotherapy targeting tumor specific antigen and signaling pathways of tumor growth in basic research. Clinically, we are participating in a variety of multi-center clinical trials. Diagnostic fiber-optic bronchoscopy is the area where we are leading in the world in collaboration with other institutes. Virtual bronchoscopic navigation system is a highly sophisticated diagnostic procedure.
In collaboration with pulmonary physicians, cardiologists in our department are attempting to do research in borderline areas such as cardiac sarcoidosis and pulmonary hypertension. Our metabolic disease group is interested in the pathophysiology and the pathobiology of obesity and type 2 diabetes, focusing on adipocyte biology, in vitro.


Education for medical students consists of large class lectures for 4th grade, small class lectures for 5th grade, both of which are given by faculty members, and premedical clinical practice course, bed-side teaching in other words. In clinical practical course, a small group of medical students have opportunities to see hospitalized patients with various pulmonary disorders. They take part in the management of these patients with some preceptors assigned to them. They learn how to diagnose and treat patients effectively. During the course, they are assigned at least one case and allowed to give a presentation of the case in front of our faculty members at the end. They are encouraged to attend clinical rounds, group conferences, and department seminars.
1 Image of “virtual” bronchoscopy reconstructed from computed tomography.
2 Faculty members and fellows

International Activities

Recent Invited Talks in International Conferences

  • Nishimura M (2006) 103rd Annual Meeting of Korean Academy of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease: Invited Lecture, Seoul, Korea
  • Nishimura M (2006) COPD5 International Meeting: Symposium, Birmingham, UK
  • Nishimura M, Betsuyaku T, Nasuhara Y, Konno S (2008) Soon Chun Hyang — Hokkaido University International Symposium — Genomics of Chronic Airway Diseases, Seoul, Korea
  • Nishimura M (2008) Airway Vista 2008 "Perspective toward Optimism in COPD & Severe Asthma", Seoul, Korea
  • Nishimura M (2008) Gordon L. Snider: Clinical Issues Workshop Series No. 10 "Quantitative Chest Tomography in COPD Research", Bethesda, USA

Ongoing International Collaborations

T. Betsuyaku is collaborating with Dr. Robert M. Senior at Washington University in St. Louis (2007~) on the project of NIH-SCCOR in COPD.

Selected Publications

1. Suzuki M, Betsuyaku T, Ito Y, Nagai K, Nasuhara Y, Kaga K, Kondo S, Nishimura M (2008) Downregulated NF-E2-related Factor 2 in Pulmonary Macrophages of Aged Smokers and COPD Patients. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol (Epub)
2. Makita H, Nasuhara Y, Nagai K, Ito Y, Hasegawa M, Betsuyaku T, Onodera Y, Hizawa N, Nishimura M; Hokkaido COPD Cohort Study Group (2007) Characterisation of phenotypes based on severity of emphysema in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Thorax 62: 932-937.
3. Sakaue S, Ishimaru S, Ikeda D, Ohtsuka Y, Honda T, Suzuki J, Kawakami Y, Ishii J, Nishimura M (2007) Estimation of beta-cell function from the data of the oral glucose tolerance test. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 292: E1575-1580.
4. Asahina H, Yamazaki K, Kinoshita I, Sukoh N, Harada M, Yokouchi H, Ishida T, Ogura S, Kojima T, Okamoto Y, Fujita Y, Dosaka-Akita H, Isobe H, Nishimura M (2006) A phase II trial of gefitinib as first-line therapy for advanced non-small cell lung cancer with epidermal growth factor receptor mutations.
Br J Cancer
95: 998-1004.
5. Maeda Y, Hizawa N, Jinushi E, Honda A, Takahashi D, Fukui Y, Konno S, Shimizu T, Shimizu H, Yamaguchi E, Nishimura M (2006) Polymorphisms in the muscarinic receptor 1 gene confer susceptibility to asthma in Japanese subjects. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 174: 1119-1124.
6. Hasegawa M, Nasuhara Y, Onodera Y, Makita H, Nagai K, Fuke S, Ito Y, Betsuyaku T, Nishimura M (2006) Airflow limitation and airway dimensions in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 173: 1309-1315.
7. Yamazaki K, Ogura S, Ishizaka A, Oh-hara T, Nishimura M (2003) Bronchoscopic microsampling method for measuring drug concentration in epithelial lining fluid.
Am J Respir Crit Care Med 168: 1304-1307.