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Survival of the Fittest: On how to enhance recovery from critical illness through learning from evolutionary conserved catabolic pathways

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 FitteR-CATABOLIC project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the FitteR-CATABOLIC project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "FitteR-CATABOLIC" about.

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Project "FitteR-CATABOLIC" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: OUDE MARKT 13
city: LEUVEN
postcode: 3000

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Belgium [BE]
 Total cost 2˙500˙000 €
 EC max contribution 2˙500˙000 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2017-ADG
 Funding Scheme ERC-ADG
 Starting year 2018
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2018-10-01   to  2023-09-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN BE (LEUVEN) coordinator 2˙500˙000.00


 Project objective

Since a few decades, human patients who suffer from severe illnesses or multiple trauma, conditions that were previously lethal, are being treated in intensive care units (ICUs). Modern intensive care medicine bridges patients from life-threatening conditions to recovery with use of mechanical devices, vasoactive drugs and powerful anti-microbial agents. By postponing death, a new unnatural condition, intensive-care-dependent prolonged (>1 week) critical illness, has been created. About 25% of ICU patients today require prolonged intensive care, sometimes for weeks or months, and these patients are at high risk of death while consuming 75% of resources. Although the primary insult was adequately dealt with, many long-stay patients typically suffer from hypercatabolism, ICU-acquired brain dysfunction and polyneuropathy/myopathy leading to severe muscle weakness, further increasing the risk of late death. As hypercatabolism was considered the culprit, several anabolic interventions were tested, but these showed harm instead of benefit. We previously showed that fasting early during illness is superior to forceful feeding, pointing to certain benefits of catabolic responses. In healthy humans, fasting activates catabolism to provide substrates essential to protect and maintain brain and muscle function. This proposal aims to investigate whether evolutionary conserved catabolic fasting pathways, specifically lipolysis and ketogenesis, can be exploited in the search for prevention of brain dysfunction and muscle weakness in long-stay ICU patients, with the goal to identify a new metabolic intervention to enhance their recovery. The project builds further on our experience with bi-directional translational research - using human material whenever possible and a validated mouse model of sepsis-induced critical illness for objectives that cannot be addressed in patients - and aims to close the loop, from a novel concept to a large randomized controlled trial in patients.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Réjane Paumelle, Joel T. Haas, Nathalie Hennuyer, Eric Baugé, Yann Deleye, Dieter Mesotten, Lies Langouche, Jonathan Vanhoutte, Céline Cudejko, Kristiaan Wouters, Sarah Anissa Hannou, Vanessa Legry, Steve Lancel, Fanny Lalloyer, Arnaud Polizzi, Sarra Smati, Pierre Gourdy, Emmanuelle Vallez, Emmanuel Bouchaert, Bruno Derudas, Hélène Dehondt, Céline Gheeraert, Sébastien Fleury, Anne Tailleux,
Hepatic PPARα is critical in the metabolic adaptation to sepsis
published pages: 963-973, ISSN: 0168-8278, DOI: 10.1016/j.jhep.2018.12.037
Journal of Hepatology 70/5 2019-10-08
2019 Chloë Goossens, Ruben Weckx, Sarah Derde, Thomas Dufour, Sarah Vander Perre, Lies Pauwels, Steven E. Thiessen, Paul P. Van Veldhoven, Greet Van den Berghe, Lies Langouche
Adipose tissue protects against sepsis-induced muscle weakness in mice: from lipolysis to ketones
published pages: 236, ISSN: 1364-8535, DOI: 10.1186/s13054-019-2506-6
Critical Care 23/1 2019-10-08
2019 E. van Puffelen, J.M. Hulst, I. Vanhorebeek, K. Dulfer, G. Van den Berghe, K.F.M. Joosten, S.C.A.T. Verbruggen
Effect of late versus early initiation of parenteral nutrition on weight deterioration during PICU stay: Secondary analysis of the PEPaNIC randomised controlled trial
published pages: , ISSN: 0261-5614, DOI: 10.1016/j.clnu.2019.02.014
Clinical Nutrition 2019-10-07
2019 Greet Van den Berghe
Paediatric critical care survival: how to avoid bias
published pages: e2, ISSN: 2213-2600, DOI: 10.1016/S2213-2600(18)30408-9
The Lancet Respiratory Medicine 7/2 2019-10-07
2019 Jan Gunst, Astrid De Bruyn, Greet Van den Berghe
Glucose control in the ICU
published pages: 156-162, ISSN: 0952-7907, DOI: 10.1097/ACO.0000000000000706
Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology 32/2 2019-10-07
2018 Esther van Puffelen, Jessie M. Hulst, Ilse Vanhorebeek, Karolijn Dulfer, Greet Van den Berghe, Sascha C. A. T. Verbruggen, Koen F. M. Joosten
Outcomes of Delaying Parenteral Nutrition for 1 Week vs Initiation Within 24 Hours Among Undernourished Children in Pediatric Intensive Care
published pages: e182668, ISSN: 2574-3805, DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.2668
JAMA Network Open 1/5 2019-10-07

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