TransMic

The transition from a traditional to a Western lifestyle and its effect on the interrelation between diet, gut microbiome and health

Project description

Important gaps remain in our understanding how diet and the composition of the gut microbiota influence the function of our immune system. TransMic focused on communities in sub-Saharan Africa that are in different stages of urbanization and a nutrition and epidemiologic transition. These communities offer unique opportunities to investigate the ‘diet-microbiome-health’ axis for the following reasons: a) differences in diet (‘Westernized’ vs traditional) and lifestyle (urban vs rural) are more extreme than in European populations; b) the traditional African diet is rich in plant-based fibers and immunomodulatory molecules (such as polyphenols), but also in fermented products rich in environmental microbes, which have been lost in the industrialized world and  are increasingly recognized to positively influence host defense mechanisms.

Data from cohorts from Tanzania (urban versus rural dwellers; Work Package1), Burkina Faso (rural, semi-urban, urban families; WP2) and Europe were used and analyzed using a multi-omics approach (WP3). In addition, a two-week dietary intervention was performed in healthy young Tanzanian men who were switched from a 'Western' to a traditional diet and vice versa or were exposed to a traditional fermented banana beverage (WP4). Omics-based data, including microbiome composition, genetics, transcriptome, metabolome and plasma proteome were integrated with functional immune data.

Key findings were that changing a traditional plant-rich diet to a calorie-dense ‘Westernized’ diet affects plasma metabolites, the composition of the gut microbiome and the function of the immune and coagulation system. The intervention study confirmed the causal effects of diet on immune function and  showed the immunomodulatory effects of a switch from an urban (‘high caloric, western style’) to a rural (‘traditional plant-rich’) diet and vice versa, and a strong immune effect of intake of a traditional fermented banana brew.

Overall, TransMic shows that the switch from a traditional – largely plant-based –  diet to a high-calorie 'Western' diet has a marked influence on the function of the immune- and coagulation system, via changes in active metabolites in the blood and the composition of the gut microbiome. These changes lead to an increased activation of the immune system. In Europe, the transition to a 'western' diet has had a negative effect on the diversity of the microbiome. TransMic  shows that dietary interventions can contribute to the restoration of a healthy microbiome composition and a more balanced immune system.

Consortium

Partner Organization Partner Country
University of Bonn Germany
University of Florence-Meyer Children Hospital Italy

 

Highlights

The TransMic project shows that rural-to-urban transition in Tanzania and Burkina Faso is associated with a switch in diet from a traditional – largely plant-based – African diet rich in fermented products to a high-calorie 'Western-style' diet. This switch has a marked influence on the function of the immune- and coagulation system via changes in active metabolites in the blood and the composition of the gut microbiome. A short dietary intervention study in healthy men in Tanzania confirmed that a switch from a urban to a traditional diet or the intake of a fermented banana beverage reduced inflammation and improved blood markers of cardiometabolic health. TransMic also shows that the genetic regulation of the immune system in East African individuals differs from that of people in Western Europe with East African individuals having a more activated immune and coagulation system. Sticking to a traditional, immunomodulatory diet may therefore be of extra importance for African communities in order to curb the present surge in inflammation-related conditions.

Products

Title: Urban living in healthy Tanzanians is associated with an inflammatory status driven by dietary and metabolic changes.
Author: Temba GS*, Kullaya V*, Pecht T*, Mmbaga BT, Aschenbrenner AC*, Ulas T*, Kibiki G, Lyamuya F, Boahen CK*, Kumar V*, Joosten LAB*, Schultze JL*, van der Ven AJ*, Netea MG*, de Mast Q*.
Link: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41590-021-00867-8
Title: Gut microbiome-mediated metabolism effects on immunity in rural and urban African populations
Author: Stražar M, Temba GS*, Vlamakis H, Kullaya VI*, Lyamuya F, Mmbaga BT, Joosten LAB*, van der Ven AJAM*, Netea MG*, de Mast Q*, Xavier RJ
Link: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-25213-2
Title: Differences in thrombin and plasmin generation potential between East African and Western European adults: The role of genetic and non-genetic factors.
Author: Temba GS*, Vadaq N*, Wan J, Kullaya V*, Huskens D, Pecht T*, Jaeger M, Boahen CK, Matzaraki V, Broeders W, Joosten LAB*, Faradz SMH, Kibiki G, Middeldorp S, Cavalieri D*, Lionetti P*, de Groot PG, Schultze JL*, Netea MG*, Kumar V*, de Laat B, Mmbaga BT, van der Ven AJ*, Roest M, de Mast Q*.
Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/jth.15657
Title: A functional genomics approach in Tanzanian population identifies distinct genetic regulators of cytokine production compared to European population
Author: Boahen CK*, Temba GS*, Kullaya VI*, Matzaraki V, Joosten LAB*, Kibiki G, Mmbaga BT, van der Ven A*, de Mast Q*, Netea MG*, Kumar V*.
Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2022.01.014
Title: Changing Dietary Habits: The Impact of Urbanization and Rising Socio-Economic Status in Families from Burkina Faso in Sub-Saharan Africa
Author: Casari S*, Di Paola M*, Banci E, Diallo S, Scarallo L, Renzo S, Gori A, Renzi S, Paci M, de Mast Q*, Pecht T,* Derra K, Kaboré B, Tinto H, Cavalieri D*, Lionetti P*
Link: https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14091782
Title: Differences in the inflammatory proteome of East African and Western European adults and associations with environmental and dietary factors
Author: Temba GS, Vadaq N, Kullaya V, Pecht T, Lionetti P, Cavalieri D, Schultze JL, Kavishe R, Joosten LAB, van der Ven AJ, Mmbaga BT, Netea MG, de Mast Q.
Link: https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.82297
Title: Kullaya VI, Temba GS, Vadaq N, Njau J, Boahen CK, Nkambule BB, Thibord F, Chen MH, Pecht T, Lyamuya F, Kumar V, Netea MG, Mmbaga BT, van der Ven A, Johnson AD, de Mast Q.
Author: Genetic and nongenetic drivers of platelet reactivity in healthy Tanzanian individuals
Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtha.2023.11.014
Title: Host genetic regulation of human gut microbial structural variation
Author: Zhernakova DV, Wang D, Liu L, Andreu-Sánchez S, Zhang Y, Ruiz-Moreno AJ, Peng H, Plomp N, Del Castillo-Izquierdo Á, Gacesa R, Lopera-Maya EA, Temba GS, Kullaya VI, van Leeuwen SS; Lifelines Cohort Study; Xavier RJ, de Mast Q, Joosten LAB, Riksen NP, Rutten JHW, Netea MG, Sanna S, Wijmenga C, Weersma RK, Zhernakova A, Harmsen HJM, Fu J.
Link: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-023-06893-w

 

Target groupAuthorsMeans of communicationHyperlink
Scientists/medical professionalsGodfrey S. Temba, Vesla Kullaya, Tal Pecht, Blandina T. Mmbaga, Anna C. Aschenbrenner, Thomas Ulas, Joachim L. Schultze, Andre van der Ven, Mihai G. Netea, Quirijn de Mast. Partners: Radboudumc, Limes Bonn, KCMC. Title: The impact of urbanization, diet and serum metabolites on innate immune responses in healthy Tanzanian individuals. Meeting: New Frontiers in Innate Immune Memory. October 2019, Nijmegen, The NetherlandsOral presentation at international conference. Awarded by Nature Immunology Best Oral Presentation Award. 
General public TanzaniaVesla Kullaya and Godfrey Temba (Radboudumc). Publication date Febr 17th 2021Radio interview on local radio station for Northern Tanzania (Sauti ya Injili) about results of TransMic project, emphasizing the important beneficial health effects of a traditional Tanzanian diet. Broadcasted Febr 17th 2021 
General public TanzaniaVesla Kullaya and Godfrey Temba (Radboudumc). Publication date Febr 19th 2021Newspaper article in national newspaper Tanzania about results of TransMic project (WP1), emphasizing the important beneficial health effects of a traditional Tanzanian diet. 
General public TanzaniaVesla Kullaya and Godfrey Temba (Radboudumc), March 2nd 2021News item on national TV station (Azam TV) regarding the results of TransMic with interviews TransMic researchers, emphasizing the important health effects of traditional diets. 
General publicRadboudumc and LIMES institutePress release by partners (Radboudumc and LIMES institute) regarding results WP 1 of TransMic, which was picked up by different sites, e.g. SciencedailyLink
General public, policy makers, researchersQ. de Mast, Radboudumc. Interview about TransMic in Mediator, journal of ZonMW. Wat een westers dieet precies doet in het lichaam Studie in Afrika toont biologische processen bij diverse eetpatronen. Jan 2020InterviewLink
Scientists/medical professionals/policy makersTemba GS,... de Mast Q. Differences in thrombin and plasmin generation potential between East African and Western European adults: The role of genetic and non-genetic factors. Presentation by G. Temba at the '3rd National Non- Communicable Diseases Scientific Conference 2021'. 11 en 12 Nov 2021. Arusha. TanzaniaPresentation at conference in Tanzania 
Scientist/medical professionals.Temba GS,... de Mast Q. Differences in thrombin and plasmin generation potential between East African and Western European adults: The role of genetic and non-genetic factors. Congress of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis 17-21 July 2021Poster presentation 
Scientists/medical professionals/policy makersGodfrey S. Temba*, Nadira Vadaq, Vesla Kullaya, Tal Pecht*, Paolo Lionetti*, Duccio Cavalieri*, Joachim L. Schultze*, Reginald Kavishe, Leo A.B. Joosten*, Andre J. van der Ven*, Blandina T. Mmbaga, Mihai G. Netea*, Quirijn de Mast*. Differences in the inflammatory proteome of East African and Western European adults and associations with environmental and dietary factors. 21st Annual Joint Scientific Conference in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania on 18-05-2022Oral presentation 
General publicThessa Lageman. Wat wij kunnen leren van traditionele Afrikaanse diëten. Interview Quirijn de Mast. ZonMW website. Jan 2022Interview website 

Features

Project number:
TransMic
Duration: 100%
Duration: 100 %
2018
2022
Project lead and secretary:
Mihai Netea/ Q. de Mast
Responsible organisation:
Radboud university medical center, The Netherlands