PhD student FHML/School for Cardiovascular Diseases/CARIM-department of Internal Medicine

Maastricht University (UM)
August 30 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Ongoing developments in nutrition research stress that health effects of food reach far beyond factors such as caloric intake and (macro)nutrient composition. Not only the basic composition, also the methods of food processing and meal preparation can have radical impact on certain components in food. For instance, the amount of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) can radically increase during food processing and preparation, especially heating. AGEs in food are potential risk factors for inflammation, insulin resistance and vascular complications.

AGEs are a heterogeneous, complex group of bioactive compounds that are formed when reducing sugar reacts in a non-enzymatic way with amino acids in proteins. Food products, especially foods that have been processed at high temperatures, are a source of exposure to AGEs for humans. In addition, AGEs can be endogenously formed in the human body. When dietary AGEs become incorporated in body components, they remain biologically active and exert their pathological effects. Dicarbonyl compounds are reactive precursors (pre-AGEs) in the formation of AGEs.

In this PhD project, we will use HPLC-MSMS to quantify the major pre-AGEs in a wide range of foods and beverages. For participants in our large cohort studies, the dietary intake of pre-AGEs shall be calculated based on the obtained database on pre-AGEs composition of food-items and appropriate FFQs. We will establish whether dietary pre-AGEs such as methylglyoxal represent a significant source of circulating and tissue AGEs. The relationship of the intake of dietary pre-AGEs with markers of inflammation, endothelial function, insulin resistance and vascular function will be determined by linear regression. In addition, the association of glycemic index or -load with circulating pre-AGEs will be investigated. This project will lead to novel insights into the role of dietary pre-AGEs in chronic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity and in vascular complications. The impact, from a clinical point of view, will be that this study will lead to new possibilities for (dietary) intervention.

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess