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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Human Nutrition Unit

Zone de texte éditable et éditée et rééditée

Main Determinants of inter-individual variability

Main Determinants of inter-individual variability
Identify the mains determinants of the inter-individual variation in response to the consumption of plant food bioactives

Clinical research has demonstrated that individuals respond differently to dietary intervention and thereby may experience more or less benefits from particular nutrients. This inter-individual variation has been little explored for plant bioactives although it undeniably exists: e.g. plant sterol intake can lower LDL-cholesterol in certain individuals whereas others do not respond. Differences in microbiota composition or gene polymorphisms linked to absorption or metabolism were shown to affect bioavailability and bioactivity of compounds such as isoflavones, carotenoids or glucosinolates. However, such research is highly fragmented and the relative contribution of factors (e.g. (epi)genetic, microbiota, age or gender) to the individual responsiveness to various plant bioactives has never been addressed properly and in an integrated way. Improving knowledge in this field is crucial because the heterogeneity in responsiveness can obscure associations between dietary intakes and health outcomes and thereby hinder the identification of the effects of plant food bioactives in specific population subgroups and limit our understanding of the exact role of the different bioactives. A better knowledge of factors that control whether bioactives are protective or not in individuals is crucial to develop future efficient strategies aiming to optimise the beneficial effect of plant food consumption for everyone: by providing scientific bases to underpin dietary advices tailored to populations subgroups and by improving the quality food supply with the development of new functional/customized foods.


Coordination of a European network on the inter-individual variation in response to plant food bioactives intake.

To address this issue our team has structured and is leading a large European collaborative network of scientists combining expertizes in different disciplines to consider through a truly innovative approach the inter-individual variation in response to consumption of plant food bioactives and the determinants involved. The project is funded by the COST, as the Action FA 1403 – POSITIVe, launched in December 2014 for 4 years. To date the POSITIVe network involves up to 200 scientific experts from 70 institutes/universities in 32 European countries, several members of EFSA Panels, 7 representatives of the AgroFood industry in Europe and the European Food Information Council (EUFIC). Three members of the team are involved in the coordination and management of the COST Action, as chair and co-leaders of 2 WGs.

In this multidisciplinary and multisectorial European network, together with representatives of regulatory authorities and industry, top-level experts in nutrition and plant food bioactives, in cutting-edge technologies (metagenomics, nutrigenetics, nutrigenomics, metabolomics) and in forefront research fields (personalised nutrition, human gut microbiota, modelling), to tackle the question of the inter-individual variation in response to plant food bioactives consumption. The inter-individual variation will be examined in terms of bioavailability and bioactivity in relation to cardiometabolic outcomes. The main aims of the POSITIVe network are to: (1) Evaluate from existing data the inter-individual variation in human absorption, metabolism and biological responses in response to plant food consumption & Identify the main determinants (age, gender, genetic background, microbiota composition); (2) Define strategies to stratify populations into sub-groups according to their ability to respond to plant food bioactives consumption; (3) Identify knowledge gaps, methodological needs and define priorities for future innovative European research in the field; and (4) Foster exchanges between scientists, regulatory authorities and industry to fuel the development of research projects and innovative applications from scientific findings (ie: development of a new generation of tailored dietary advices, of functional/customized foods).



Relative contribution of selected determinants in inter-individual variation in exposure and responsiveness to plant food bioactives

One of the major determinants of exposure to plant food bioactives is the dietary pattern of individuals, as the proportion of plant foods in the diet can substantially vary. There is no description yet of the extent of variations induced by dietary habits in terms of diversity and concentrations of food bioactive metabolites present in plasma. In the Metabo-KS project, funded by INCa (2015-2017), we compared the exposure to plant food bioactives in two subgroups of women selected in the SU.VI.MAX cohort for their low (n=80) or high (n=80) adherence to the dietary advices of the “Plan National Nutrition Santé”. Plant food bioactives metabolic profiling will be performed in fasting plasma samples using our new semi-targeted metabolomics approach. The magnitude of the variations observed for the different bioactives within and between the two selected populations will be compared and will possibly serve as reference data to put into perspective the variations induced by other factors such as gender or genetic polymorphisms in clinical studies.