The INSPIRE research facilities

Voir la version française de cette page.

The INSPIRE research platform sets up several INSPIRE cohorts to collect biological, clinical, digital and imaging data.

The human translational research cohort (T cohort)

Publié le 22/05/2020 à 15h10

The most important INSPIRE research cohort will be made of 1,000 people from 20 years old to the most advanced age. Participants are seen once a year at the Clinical Research Center of the Gerontopole where geriatricians proceed with a thorough evaluation of their functions following the ICOPE guidelines and several biological samplings (cf. Chart 1). For a sub-sample of the participants, some complementary tests are offered such as MRI, DEXA, exercise test (VO2 max) & measurement of muscular strength (Cybex). Between annual appointments, every 4 months, participants will be asked to monitor themselves with the ICOPE MONITOR application. According to the observed results, a more in-depth evaluation may be suggested in order to research the potential causes of a decline (including biological, environmental, social causes and intercurrent diseases) and propose specific and bespoke prevention strategies.

In order to determine links between geroscience and Alzheimer Disease, researchers will study plasmatic markers as predictive of Alzheimer Disease.

T-cohort ancillary study : CART / SMART HOME

CART (or Smart Home), is a study that will be carried out in a sub-group of the INSPIRE translational research cohort, to obtain more refined data on activity and mobility using sensors installed at home. Approximately 100 participants’ homes will be equipped during the period covering the project. This study is carried out in partnership with the University of Portland in Oregon (USA) where these sensors have led to scientific advances over the last 10 years.

Other digital tools will enrich the panel used to date. Thalès and EDF companies, for example, propose measurement technologies that could also be implemented within sub-groups of the T-cohort in the future.

Retour en haut de page

The INSPIRE animal research cohorts (cohorts A)

Publié le 22/05/2020 à 15h27

Murine cohort

This murine animal research cohort is hosted at the Institute of Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases (I2MC - Inserm / UMR 1048), under the responsibility of Pr. Angelo Parini. It is intended to be a mirror cohort of the human cohort in order to put into perspective the results of translational research found in humans and vice versa, on models of aging animals and living under risky conditions such as humans (sedentary lifestyle, hyperlipidic diet). The main objectives of the animal cohort are as follows :

  • To determine the evolution over time of frailty / accelerated aging induced by specific risk factors (sedentary lifestyle, inactivity, overweight and obesity).
  • To correlate functional frailty to markers of aging / senescence
  • To identify new biomarkers and pharmacological targets to prevent & treat frailty or accelerated aging.

To this end, decision was made to work on relatively young human and animal cohorts, but with several frailty/accelerated aging risk factors, such as sedentary lifestyle, overweight and obesity. By extrapolation, we can consider that this animal cohort would correspond to a human population of individuals aged between 30 and 70 years.

Fish model in real life conditions

Alongside the murine cohort, the INSPIRE project will also be based on the use of a fish model presenting with accelerated aging, equally hosted at the I2MC and supervized by Cédric Dray and Jean-Philippe Pradère.

The Nothobranchuis Furzeri, more commonly known as the African Kilifish, is one of the vertebrates with the shortest lifespan. The rapid mode of reproduction of this animal, due to environmental conditions, causes it to develop accelerated aging (4 to 6 months) of all its organs, comparable to that observed in humans. This characteristics makes this fish an essential study model for identifying and validating new hypotheses within the INSPIRE project.

Thus, through experiences of physical exercise, fasting and re-feeding or targeted nutritional challenge, the African Kilifish model will enable, in a short time, the reproduction of the various stresses targeted by the INSPIRE project. These animals will be phenotyped in order to better apprehend their locomotor and cognitive abilities (videotracking) but also to understand the contribution to accelerated aging of isolated mechanisms in humans in terms of metabolism and immune and regenerative capacities.

Canine cohort

Finally, the canine cohort should be seen at the Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Toulouse, under the responsibility of Pr. Isabelle Raymond Letron, in association with STROMALab, which took the initiative, at the instigation of Pr. Louis Casteilla.

The originality of the canine cohort lies in its complementarity and synergy with :

  • The human translational research cohort on the one hand,
  • The animal model cohorts (mice and fish) on the other.

Dogs are animals with a physiology close to that of man and they present a comparable aging process. Many physical and behavioral aging signs are found in humans and dogs, as well as the observation of many age-related diseases of the same nature (cancer, metabolic diseases, osteoarthritis, neurodegenerative diseases, etc.).

They fully share their masters’ environment (air, water, food, exposure to potential contaminants, etc.), and very often their lifestyle (active or sedentary). An additional advantage of the canine model is its rapid aging since its average lifespan is much less than that of its owners and is very variable according to the breeds considered.

Finally, the scientific and technological level of veterinary medicine makes it possible to evaluate the biological and physical parameters of dogs in a way almost identical to that of humans (physical and clinical examination, blood and urine analyses, medical imaging, functional tests, etc.).

The canine cohort will extend from adulthood to older animals without age limit, and will be recruited, clinically explored and followed in a manner as similar as possible to the human translational research cohort, to generate a broad platform of bioresources and canine data reflecting the human platform.

The primary objective of the studies carried out will be :

  • To identify markers of biological aging, markers of age-related diseases or frailty of relevant individuals in dogs and transposable to humans
  • To understand the mechanisms and determinisms of biological aging.
Retour en haut de page

The INSPIRE care or clinical cohort (cohort C)

Publié le 22/05/2020 à 15h50 (mis à jour le 22/05/2020 à 15h59)

Lowering the number of dependent elderly people in the future is one of the economic and human challenges of our societies.

The WHO ICOPE program was created to meet this need. It is a public health integrated care program for the elderly (from the age of 60) that requires the support and participation of professionals from the health, medico-social and social sectors as well as decision-makers for its implementation. The objective of this INSPIRE Care cohort, in conjunction with the Regional Team on Aging and Prevention of Dependency (ERVPD) part of the Toulouse University Hospital Gérontopôle, with the support of the Health Regional Agency of Occitania, is to implement the ICOPE program in Occitania region and to screen about 200,000 seniors by 2024-2025 in this same area.

The WHO has identified so far 6 functions of an individual’s intrinsic capacity, which are essential for an healthy aging, and whose assessment is called the Step 1 of the ICOPE program :

  1. Mobility,
  2. Memory,
  3. Nutrition,
  4. Mood,
  5. Sight,
  6. Hearing.

An application to screen subjects at risk of loss of autonomy

In order to identify people at risk of dependancy or loss of autonomy, WHO created a screening tool called Step 1 of the ICOPE Program and their ICOPE app launched on 1st October 2019. It’s can be downloaded on App Store and Google Play.

The Gerontopole uses this ICOPE application to carry out the first evaluation of the 6 functions of intrinsic capacity (Step 1). Then, to regularly monitor the evaluation of these 6 functions over time, the Gerontopole developed the ICOPE MONITOR app.

The data filled into the ICOPE MONITOR application are collected directly in a secure healthcare database and in case of a loss or deterioration of a function, the system automatically generates an alert to the ICOPE telemonitoring center at the Gerontopole. Then the subject would be called by a nurse from the ERVPD to confirm or deny the loss of function.

With the agreement of the participant and if the functional loss or deterioration is proven, the referring physician receives an alert from the Gerontopole and can then implement the necessary actions to maintain autonomy as proposed by the WHO ICOPE program.

He will be able to propose a more in-depth evaluation, which constitutes the Step 2 of the WHO ICOPE program. This Step 2 can also be done by a specialized nurse trained in fragility and therefore in STEP 2 by the Gerontopole. Finally, the referring physician may rely on teleconsultation or tele-expertise when a geriatric opinion or other specialist opinion is required.

Finally, here are some tutorials to guide you into using the ICOPE MONITOR application :

Retour en haut de page

The digital cohort (cohort D)

Publié le 22/05/2020 à 15h54

A digital cohort will be established for autonomous people wishing to self-assess themselves :

  • By carrying out initially, then every year, an in-depth assessment which will be proposed to them on the INSPIRE platform website (part dedicated to this e-cohort) thanks to online questionnaires.
  • In parallel, every four months, the patients will have to self-assess themselves on the ICOPE MONITOR application for their follow-up. In the event of a decline alert on one of the functions, as in the Care cohort, an alert will be generated to the health professionals supervising the person and informed by the user upon registration.
Retour en haut de page