Dorrain Low

Dorrain Low

session, year:
2016 2nd


Receiving laboratory:
UNH Human nutrition, Clermont-Ferrand-Theix

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Mobility project

Untargeted metabolomics to study associations between individual exposure to plant bioactive metabolites and cognitive function

With a global ageing population, risks of cognitive decline threaten the independence and quality of life for older adults, amplifying constraints to the healthcare system. The D-CogPlast consortium (EU-funded project by JPI-HDHL) is aimed at uncovering and validating bioactives protecting against age-related cognitive decline triggered by brain plasticity alteration. In the discovery phase of the project, we are identifying a combination of diet-derived metabolites associated with cognitive decline using untargeted metabolomics with high resolution mass spectrometry. The project leveraged the French Three-Cities cohort study (of French elderly subjects), where the metabolic profiles of 200 individuals who developed accelerated cognitive decline over 13 years were compared to 200 control individuals with preserved cognition. We observed differences between the serum metabolomes of the control and accelerated decline groups that reflected differences in habitual dietary intakes of the elderly subjects. 17 ions were representative of a serum metabolomic profile associated with cognition, and their identification is currently in progress. Next, the robustness of this set of ions will be validated in a separate cohort. The ability of these ions predictive of cognitive decline to modulate brain plasticity and neuronal integrity will be further investigated in an in vitro parabiosis assay and finally in a proof-of-principle dietary intervention mouse model. It is expected that these identified and validated biomarkers will lead to dietary intervention and recommendations for cognitive decline prevention.


Biography & research interests

I completed my PhD at the University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia) on applying mass spectrometry tools to study the sequential mechanical and digestive breakdown of food structures, gut microbiota-mediated polyphenol biotransformations, and polyphenol metabolism in a dietary intervention pig model. I developed a keen interest in applying my analytical expertise to human health, especially the significance of food-derived biomarkers in health/ diseased states. After completing my PhD in 2015, I joined the Australian catholic University, teaching human physiology. In Oct 2016, I joined the team of Claudine Manach at INRA (Theix, France). I am currently working on the “D-CogPlast” project exploring associations between individual exposure to food-derived metabolites and cognitive ageing using untargeted metabolomics.


Selected publications

Low, D. Y., Hodson, M. P., Williams, B. A., D’Arcy, B. R. & Gidley, M. J., 2016. Microbial transformation of polyphenols during in vitro colonic fermentation of masticated mango and banana. Food Chemistry, 207, 214-222.

Low, D. Y., Williams, B. A., Flanagan, B. M., D’Arcy, B. R. & Gidley, M. J., 2015. In vitro fermentation of chewed mango and banana tissue: Particle size, starch and vascular fibre effects. Food & Function, 6, 2464-2474.

Low, D. Y., D’Arcy, B. R. & Gidley, M. J., 2015. Mastication effects on carotenoid bioaccessibility from mango fruit tissue. Food Research International, 67, 238-246.

Low, D. Y. & Grant, L., 2014. More than a gut feeling. Food Australia, Feb 2014, 32-35.


Plant bioactives, diet, food metabolome, ageing, cognition