Gastrointestinal metabolism in health and disease

Gastrointestinal horizontaal

It is widely accepted that the symbiotic and commensal microbiota, residing in the human gastrointestinal tract are in intimate communication with the host, which is the result of a long period of co-adaptation between the gut microbiome and the host genotype. The gut microbiota provide to the host specific capacities ranging from dietary energy recovery from nutrients to protection against infectious diseases. In parallel, an increasing awareness exists that many intestinal diseases involve a significant perturbation of the mammalian-microbial symbiosis including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colorectal cancer (CRC).

In this context a clear relation exists with the diet. In particular, metabolomics offers new opportunities to provide unique insights into the regulatory processes involved in our metabolic homeostasis. By the study of biofluids (blood, urine), stools, tissues (intact biopsies or extracts) and simulated gastrointestinal suspensions, metabolomics assures the characterization of metabolic profiles or fingerprints that can be associated with individual phenotypes, which encompass dietary or disease status. Biologically relevant metabolomic endpoints including DNA adduct measurements are included in this as well.

Ongoing projects

  • FLEXiGUT: The Flemish exposome project: towards a comprehensive understanding of the life-course impact of dietary and environmental exposure on chronic low-grade gut inflammation (iBOF): Lieselot Hemeryck
  • The stress-obesity axis: a metabolomics approach towards personalized nutrition in adolescents (junior FWO)
  • Novel sampler for ambient ionization high resolution mass spectrometry (AIMS)-based metabolomics and its application in pediatrics precision medicine (IOF): Varoon Singh
  • Discovery of renal biomarkers to detect early chronic kidney disease in cats (FWO): Ellen Vanden Broecke
  • An integrated metabolomics approach to unravel the pathophysiology of early feline chronic kidney disease (BOF): Laurens Van Mulders
  • Metabolic fingerprinting towards diagnosis and prognosis of cow's milk allergy in children (BOF): Vera Plekhova
  • Rectal sampler for metabotyping of overweight and obese children towards early prevention and prognosis of metabolic diseases (FWO): Margot De Spiegeleer
  • Metabolic fingerprinting of the human gut phenotype in health and disease (Colorectal cancer & Hirschsprung's disease): Lieselot Hemeryck
  • Discovery of metabolite biomarkers for early diagnosis of cow’s milk allergy (FWO): Ellen De Paepe
  • Salivary metabolomics as a new tool for unraveling stress obesity pathways in adolescents from a clinical public health perspective (FWO): Kathleen Wijnant
  • Rectal sampling and ambient ionization based metabolomics for point-of-care precision (FWO-ERC runner-up): Marilyn De Graeve
  • Early detection of intestinal fibrosis in patient’s with Crohn’s disease: a necessity to initiate a clinical trial: Simon Bos
  • Rapid Evaporative Ionisation Mass Spectrometry for metabolomics in health and disease (Hercules): Lynn Vanhaecke

Finished projects

  • A metabolomics approach to investigate the association between heme in red meat and the development of colon cancer (FWO): Caroline Rombouts - view PhD
  • Red and processed meat in the diet: toxicological and metabolomic profiling under simulated gastrointestinal conditions (FWO): Sophie Goethals - view PhD
  • Fecal metabolomics to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of food supplements in type 2 diabetes mellitus (VLAIO & Verde Pharma): Lieven Van Meulebroek
  • DNA adduct formation due to the gastrointestinal digestion of red meat: Lieselot Hemeryck - view PhD
  • Formation and (geno)toxic activity of nitrosylation and oxidation products in the gastro-intestinal tract: role of nitrite-cured meat products and prevention (FOD Public health): Thomas Van Hecke - view PhD
  • Impact of meat and processed meat products on the formation and (geno)toxic activity of N-nitroso compounds in the human gastrointestinal tract (FWO): Lynn Vanhaecke