Major achievements in FISHGASTRO

Gastro-intestinal health with special emphasis on reduction of risk of colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disease

Major achievements in 2007

The work so far has consisted of establishing standardised protocols among the partner institutes, of which one is in the UK, two in the Netherlands, and one in Germany. Ethical approval has been obtained in all countries involved, and volunteers for the intervention studies are being recruited. Clear participant information sheets have been produced to allow all volunteers to understand their role in the study. Recipe books have been produced in the UK and in the Netherlands with suggested recipes so people can cook their fish in a variety of different dishes. The intervention studies will continue until in total 270 subjects have completed the trial. Analysis of dietary data, biopsy and faecal samples will be on-going up until 2008. Patient recruitment for the intervention studies, which have now been going for two years, is slower than anticipated in the UK. So far 177 participants are included, 45 in the UK and 132 in the Netherlands. Therefore, it was decided to extend the recruitment in the Netherlands for 6 months to be able to achieve the milestone of 270 participants by December 2007. Recruitment in the Netherlands was closed in 1 June 2007 and 240 participants could be included. So the desired number of 270 was almost obtained. The intervention was finished on 5 December 2007 when the last participant had its sigmoidscopy. The additional funding for the Wageningen centre, needed for the extension of the recruitment, was realized by transfer of money from IFR (partner 5) to WU-HNE (partner 8). Grant proposals that were submitted to the Netherlands Foundation for Digestive Diseases and the World Cancer Research Fund, were not successful. So far no money was found to cover a one-year extension of the contract one of the scientists. The work regarding measurement of faecal markers, markers of inflammation, development of markers for colorectal cancer risk using DNA chip technogy, including training of staff, has made good progress with excellent cooperation among centers. A great deal of progress has been made by WU-HNE (partner 8), Netherlands, and FSU, Germany (partner 14), in development of novel methods for measuring DNAdamage in biopsy cells by COMET analysis. This has been extended to include IFR (partner 5). This has been very successful.

The approach to the array analysis has now been generally resolved (see WP1.1.5). IFR is purchasing Affymetric arrays through the NuGO consortium. These cost considerably more than the original in-house arrays planned to use but will allow better comparison of results between centres involved in the NuGO Network of Excellence and reach accepted quality standards. The extra costs of these arrays are affordable within FISHGASTRO but the confirmation of results by Real Time RT-PCR will now be born by Dr Lundís core BBSRC funding.

Regarding measurement of in-vitro digestibility of fish protein, fish fatty acids and formation of peptides during digestion, the problem of delay in the execution of the experiments as a consequence of capacity problems at TNO was largely solved by employment of a scientist. Various in vitro experiments in TIM 1 as well as in TIM 2 were performed.† Availability for absorption of LCPUFA from fish in TIM 1 was greatly improved when the fish was combined with a meal. Regarding the TIM 2, fermentation experiments were performed with ileal residues from various types of fish after predigestion in Tim 1. Further analyses of Tim 2 faecal water samples are being discussed with the group of Prof. Pool-Zobel in Jena (partner 14).†

The supply of salmon through Nutreco has been excellent and the IFR member of staff responsible is a Polish speaker who has developed an excellent working relationship with the new Polish suppliers. The problems with the supply of cod were solved by the cooperation with a new a supplier in Spain (INESMA).

The analytical work resulting from the intervention study will be completed in the first part of 2008 and publication of the results is expected in the second half of 2008.

The project includes a multi centre intervention study with 320 subjects distributed over the participating centres in Iceland, Ireland and Spain. Central data analysis is being performed in Portugal. The focus of this study is on effects of fish consumption in overweight Europeans on risk of the metabolic syndrome and on bone health. The work included the development of experimental diets to be used in the intervention study and the development and validation (in three countries) of a food frequency questionnaire. This tool is required for the assessment of compliance to the experimental diets. The staffs in the centres in Iceland, Spain and Ireland were trained. The detailed protocol for the intervention study was developed and the intervention started in October 2004, after approval of protocols by national Medical Ethical Committees and recruitment of subjects. For the study salmon from aquaculture was obtained from Nutreco and Atlantic cod was bought in Iceland. The experimental part of the study has been successfully completed. The data management center has been installed and data analysis is in progress as well as the drafting/submitting of papers. The results of the study indicate that fish consumption helps overweight young people to lose weight while protecting lean body mass. The effect is associated with improvement of the blood lipid profile and insulin and glucose levels. Ongoing are highly interesting final analysis and writing papers about effects from fish lipids vs. fish proteins on loosing of body weight, improvement of glucose tolerance, blood lipid profile and markers of bone metabolism. The method to measure seafood intake (food frequency questionnaire) has been developed and a manuscript is prepared. Several Master students who worked in this project have already finished their studies. The total work provided high-quality scientific information, which has been partly published/accepted in peer-reviewed scientific journals.