Proteostasis- and redox-related biomarkers of nutrition and aging

Contact: Dr. Daniela Weber

Funding: EU, BMBF, MWFK, DZD

In this research area, we focus on identifying suitable biomarkers that reflect nutritional status, redox status, biological age, as well as physiological and pathological processes in humans, and we investigate the possible relationships between these biomarkers and the underlying physiological processes. Central questions are, therefore, relationships between the nutritional status, nutrient absorption, the redox status as well as the aging process and associated diseases.

To answer these questions, we are working on a number of observational and intervention studies, with subjects from different age groups, different health conditions as well as social and geographic origins. These include the European MARK-AGE cohort and the FRAILOMIC consortium, the BASE-II-Cohort from Berlin, the EPIC-Potsdam cohort and the NutriAct consortium, as well as further collaborations at national and international (e.g. NASA) level.

In particular, relationships between biological age and physiologically relevant vitamins, carotenoids and other micronutrients, as well as biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation markers are being analyzed (MARK-AGE, BASE-II, FRAILOMIC). We elucidated the role that different micronutrients and redox status could play in the aging processes that lead to frailty syndrome (FRAILOMIC). Furthermore, we are currently investigating which effects a plant protein-based diet could have on existing metabolic diseases and the above-mentioned biomarkers (NutriAct), and, for example, which connections exist between certain micronutrients and medication intake (MARK-AGE).
Based on previous results, we postulate that a combination of different biomarkers reflects age-related, physio- and pathophysiological processes better than the use of individual biomarkers alone.

In addition to these minimally invasive studies, we also analyze mechanistic biomarkers of various tissues in biopsies. The biomarkers that we are investigating are closely related to protein modification, redox regulation, and the proteasomal and autophagy-lysosomal systems.