Martí-Franquès COFUND Fellowship Programme


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Health Sciences

Supervisor name and surname:

Maria Cinta Bladé Segarra

Supervisor email:

Supervisor short biography

Co-supervisor name and surname:

M. Begoña Muguerza Marquínez

Co-supervisor email:

Co-supervisor institution:

Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Co-supervisor short biography

PhD programme:

Nutrition and Metabolism

Title of the research project:

Interaction of biological rhythms with the effectiveness of bioactive compounds

Description of the research project:

Bioactivity of functional compounds is measured without considering the time of administration. However, all the biological processes, on which the bioactive compounds act, have rhythms to adjust the functionality of the organisms to the environmental changes that occur both in cycles of 24 h and in annual cycles. Circadian rhythm determines that all processes present maximum and minimum values of functionality throughout the day. Therefore, the susceptibility of a process to be modulated by a functional ingredient depends on the time of the day in which it is acted on it. Moreover, the functionality of the bioactive ingredients depends on the rhythms in digestion and intestinal absorption, the biodiversity and the microbiota functionality, the detoxifying activity of liver enzymes, etc. This can affect the bioavailability of these bioactive ingredients, the metabolites that are generated and/or the pharmacokinetic parameters. Furthermore, the circadian rhythms and the bioavailability of the bioactive compounds vary with sex, which also influence the effectiveness of the functional compounds. Similarly, the activity of all these processes varies seasonally.
In previous projects we have shown that proanthocyanidins (PACs) are a good ingredient to prevent the metabolic syndrome. In addition, the results obtained in our group indicate that the ability of PACs to modulate gene expression of some of the components of the molecular clock is determined by the time of day in which the PACs are administered. The same effect of PACs was observed in relation with the key enzyme of cholesterol synthesis. Also, the results of or group, in which seasonal fruits as a source of phenolic compounds characteristic of long or short day are administered, indicate that certain biological processes are modified only when fruits are administered in long or short photoperiods.
The general objective of this project is to determine whether the beneficial effects described for functional ingredients or bioactive compounds are conditioned by biological rhythms.
As a strategy to address this general objective, herein we propose to use an extract of PACs from grape seed (GSPE) and an antihypertensive peptide hydrolysate from chicken feet (HPPH). This HPPH was developed previously and we have already patented it. These two functional ingredients have been selected as representative ingredients since our group knows in detail the molecular targets of GSPE and HPPH and hence, we can easily deal with biological rhythms experiments. Moreover, the selected functional ingredients have a highly different bioactivity and chemical structure.
This project initiates on 30th December 2016. This project will be performed in rats with metabolic syndrome of two sexes.
This project allows advances in the knowledge of functional foods since the inclusion of the temporal variable may be a relevant factor to optimize its effectiveness and rational use.

Gross anual salary:

26443.80 €


Full time

Working hours:

37.5 hours a week

Expected start date:

European union This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 713679