Laboratories

The Division of Human Nutrition and Health has several laboratory facilities for research and training purposes.

Nutrigenomics and metabolism laboratory

The laboratory of nutrigenomics and metabolism focuses on the role of nutrients on gene expression. Sophisticated techniques such as real-time PCR and high density microarray analysis are core techniques to study the impact of dietary signals on the genome. More information is available on the website of Nutrition, Metabolism & Genomics Group Nutrigenomics Lab.

Polymorphism detection

The polymorphism laboratory supports the (molecular) epidemiological research of the Division. Detection of genetic polymorphisms is done by PCR-RFLP/RLB techniques in different media. Currently the following polymorphisms can be assessed on routine base: GSTM1/GSTT1, GSTM3, GSTP1, ACE, MTHFR, HAEM, NOS, VDR, NAT1 and NAT2.

Chemical laboratory
The chemical laboratory supports the epidemiological research and dietary intervention trials in the Division of Human Nutrition and Health. The laboratory is equipped with modern GC and HPLC systems with different modes of detection for the measurement of proximates, nutrients and metabolites in foods and biological specimen. A main expertise lies in the field of fatty acids (more than 60 fatty acids, including positional and geometrical isomers, can be quantified on a routine base) and fat soluble vitamins (including carotenoids) which can be quantified in any matrix. Examples of other components that have become an established part of the work in the laboratory are: diterpenes (kahweol and cafestol, the cholesterol-raising factor in coffee beans) and folate.
The laboratory provides the Dutch food composition database (NEVO) with food composition data on a regular base.

Specimen collection
The pre-analytical stage can contribute much to the variability in a laboratory's test result. So standardisation of specimen collection and storage as part of the pre-analytical stage is of crucial importance. The specimen collection laboratory puts high demands on the quality of obtaining blood samples and other biological specimen (urine, faeces, fat aspirates etc).

Physiology
The physiological laboratory is mainly focused on body composition, energy expenditure, and on imaging techniques in intermediate endpoint detection of cardiovascular disease. Techniques available for the assesment of body composition at different levels (bone mass density, body water, fat mass and fat free mass) are: anthropometry, densitometry, bio-impedance, x-ray absorptiometry and dilution techniques. Energy expenditure is measured by indirect calorimetry, using Douglas bags and ventilated hood techniques.
Imaging techniques, such as ultrasound measurements, are used in the assesment of intima media thickness of the carotid artery and in flow-mediated dilatation measurements.

For more information on laboratory services, please contact Paul Hulshof.