The aim of the 500FG project is to characterize the interaction between the genetic background of the host, the microbiome composition of different niches, and the consequences on an array of physiological functions: the immune response against important human pathogens, thrombocyte function, and in a subgroup of individuals the cognitive function of the brain. These aims are approached by a combination of advanced -omics technology, cutting edge functional tests (immune tests, functional brain MRI, etc) and systems biology-based bioinformatics.

One arm of the project investigates these relationships in healthy individuals, while the second arm of the project will assess the disturbance of this balance in specific cohorts of patients.

The study arm on normal human variation is aiming to recruit 500 healthy human volunteers from several human populations with different genetic backgrounds:

  • a population of Western Europeans from the Netherlands: project started mid 2013, recruitment will be completed at the end of 2014
  • a population of Eastern Europeans from Romania: recruitment will start at the end of 2014
  • a population from East Africa in Tanzania: recruitment will start beginning of 2015
  • future studies in populations from East Asia (Indonesia) and South-America (Brazil) are planned

In the second arm of the study, the following patient groups will be included:

  • patients with obesity, with or without cardiovascular complications: project started mid 2014, will continue till the end of 2015
  • patients with HIV: a cohort of 200 patients in which clinical and immunological follow-up is available, with inclusion starting beginning of 2015
  • patients with gout: inclusion will start beginning of 2015
  • patients with mucosal (recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis) and systemic (candidemia) fungal infections
  • patients with Lyme disease
  • patients with Diabetes
  • patients with autoimmune diseases: a next phase of the study will include patient cohorts with autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases

The following information and materials will be available from all patients:

  • metadata: general questionnaires on lifestyle, diet, well-being, etc
  • DNA for genome analysis
  • Microbiome samples: intestinal, oral, skin, vaginal
  • Serum and plasma
  • Urine
  • Immune cell subpopulations done by FACS
  • Humoral immunity: immunoglobulin subclasses
  • Cellular immunity: monocyte, macrophage, lymphocyte stimulation assays
  • Thrombocyte function
  • Cognitive tests and functional MRIs in a subset of volunteers