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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Team PROSPECT “Protein intake, nutrition security and cardiometabolic risk”

" Protein intake, nutrition security and cardiometabolic risk " (Team PROSPECT)


We are studying the relationships between food consumption of animal and plant proteins, nutritional security and prevention of cardiometabolic risk. Our studies are thus set in the general context of the transition from dietary protein sources to less animal protein and more vegetable protein in Western (energy-rich) diets.

The effects of a differential intake of plant and animal proteins are addressed at several levels to address several complementary issues. We are thus implementing two types of studies: (1) metabolic studies, with nutritional interventions in animals and humans to study the impact of protein transitions on cardiometabolic risk, and (2) consumption analysis studies at the individual and population level, with observational and simulation/optimization studies to guide nutritional recommendations.

1. In our metabolic intervention studies, we approach dietary protein transitions in a decomposed or integrated manner, by manipulating specific amino acid intakes, alone or in combination (to reproduce differences in amino acid intake profiles between animal and vegetable proteins), or by manipulating the intake of certain types of proteins (cereals, legumes) or protein sources (taking into account the notion of "protein environment", i.e. by integrating nutrients and other substances closely associated with proteins into ingredients and foods). We are investigating the effects of these protein transitions on the development of metabolic deregulation, notably by using metabolic challenge models (e. g. with meals and diets rich in saturated fatty acids and sugars) in animals and humans. These metabolic deregulations, in particular the initiation of insulin resistance and low-noise inflammation (systemic and vascular), are studied in conjunction with associated physiological changes, giving preference to validated risk criteria. At the metabolic level, the team mainly uses global multiomics characterization methods (metabolomics and fluxomics by isotopomics in natural and enriched abundance) and multitissues, combined with mechanistic modelling approaches.

2. In our population consumption analysis studies, we study the nutrient and dietary patterns associated with animal and plant protein intakes. We analyze how the characteristics of protein transitions affect the adequacy of intake for nutritional requirements (nutritional security) and the predicted risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes (including the use of epidemiological models). We use food surveys and combine observational data with simulations of protein transitions. We study scenarios of drastic or moderate changes in dietary protein intake, based mainly on a series of small dietary changes to analyze individual change pathways. We use local and global optimization processes to guide these scenarios towards nutrition and health objectives, under various strategies and constraints that take into account other aspects of transition sustainability.

These different levels of study (metabolism and epidemiology; individuals and populations) are articulated within a general public nutrition perspective. Thus, metabolic studies aim to identify metabolic biomarkers that can then be studied in cohort biobanks to study relationships with cardiometabolic risk.

Our main projects are (1) in our first part of studies, to develop a joint interpretation by integrative modeling of the generated multi-omics multi-scale data, in order to analyze and understand metabolic reorientations, and possibly pre-pathological deregulations, induced by nutritional transitions, and (2), in our second part of studies, to develop a multi-criteria analysis of the sustainability of the protein transition models and scenarios we are studying, by contributing to the coupling of models from different disciplines within our collaborative network.

These levels of study (metabolism and epidemiology; individuals and populations) will be articulated into a general population nutrition perspective. Metabolic studies will seek to identify metabolic biomarkers that will then be investigated in cohort biobanks to study relationships to cardiometabolic risk. At the more integrative level of dietary intake, we wish to continue to develop, in collaboration, multi-criteria analysis of the sustainability of the protein transition models and scenarios that we are studying, and would like to contribute to coupling models from different disciplines.

The team

► François Mariotti, Head of the team.


Professor, AgroParisTech.

Background: tracer-based methods for amino acid metabolism, vascular function; Expertise: nutritional requirements; nutritional status and risk assessment; plant-based and vegetarian diets; main project: nutrition security and cardiometabolic risk in scenarios of changes in animal/plant protein intake. Other activities: Chairman of the Standing Committee on Nutrition at the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (Anses).


► Hélène Fouillet


Researcher, INRA.

Background: modelling of metabolic systems by analysis of isotopic data (quantitative isotopic fluxomics in enriched abundances and qualitative fluxomics in natural abundances). Expertise: modelling of metabolic and nutritional systems, dietary and physiopathological modulations of amino acid and protein metabolism. Main project: metabolic reorientations during protein food transitions: multiomics characterization and interpretation by modeling. Other activity: member of the scientific council of the INRA's AlimH department.


► Dominique Hermier


Senior scientist, INRA

Experience: Evidence of dysregulations induced by western-type diets by using pre-clinical models that take into account the lipid environment of dietary protein. Expertise: conduct of pre-clinical studies aiming to characterize cardiometabolic risk markers at the phenotypic, metabolic, and molecular levels. Main project: physiopathological consequences at the systemic level of early alterations of intestinal functions in response to western-type diets, and effects of food transitions on the degree of the alterations. Other activity: member of the board and of the scientific council of the French Nutrition Society.


► Jean-François Huneau

photo JFH 2

Professor, AgroParisTech

Background: intestinal physiology and nutrient bioavailability. Expertise:  nutritional requirements; amino acid metabolism; Main project: metabolic reorientation during food transition. Other activities: member of the Standing Committee on Nutrition at the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (Anses), member of the board of the French Nutrition Society, chairman of the Human Health and Nutrition section of the Life Sciences and Health Department at AgroParisTech.


► Véronique Mathé


Research Technician, INRA.


► Annie Quignard-Boulangé


Emeritus Senior scientist, INSERM.

Background:  dietary proteins impact on controlling the development and inflammation of adipose tissue in a nutritional obesity model.  Mechanisms for the prevention of metabolic syndrome by ecdysteroids. Project: search for plasma miRNAs as markers of postprandial response in overweight subjects.  Other activities: member of the scientific council of the French Nutrition Society and member of the national committee for the organization of the annual congress of the Journées francophones de Nutrition (JFN). 

Email :

► Eric Schoonejans

Scientist, INRA


Background : health, and environment foresights ; methodologies of risk assessment, management and communication ; biotech regulatory oversight; legal norms development; molecular genetics. Expertise: sustainability and environmental, health and socio-economic externalities of food systems; biosafety, GMO and biotech; international public environment, sanitary and trade law. Main project: analysis of sustainable food systems foresights, and of their health, nutritional, environmental and socio-economic impacts. Other activities: member of the ANSES R31 network’s foresight WG; development of national biosafety frameworks for developing countries.

Email :

► Juhui Wang


Research Engineer, INRA.

I am a Research Engineer in applied mathematics and computer science. I like to combine modeling/stochastic/optimization techniques to formulate and analyze the connection between diet, nutrition and the prevention of metabolic symptoms.  In applied mathematics, I am especially interested in Markov models, sensitivity analysis and machine learning. In computer science, my interests principally focus on software engineering, stochastic simulation of population dynamics on complex networks and High Performance Computing.

Email :


Present Postdoctoral fellows

► Moufidath Adjibade


Evaluation of the value of tailored advice on food substitution within the same category for reducing the risk of diabetes.


Present PhD Students

► Erwan de Gavelle

Photo Erwan

Modeling of acceptable trajectories of rearrangement of protein intake to increase nutritional adequacy; sustainability impacts.

► Trenton Dailey-Chwalibóg


Biomedical Investigations for Optimized Diagnosis and Monitoring of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM): Elucidating the Heterogenious Diagnosis of SAM by Current Anthropometric Criteria and Moving Beyond.

► Marion Salomé

photo marion

Plant protein foods from the oil-protein production sector for rebalancing the protein intake of the French population: analysis, simulation, optimization based on the consumption of the French population.


International publications

Mariotti F. Animal and plant protein sources and cardiometabolic health. Adv Nutr 2019. In press.

De Gavelle E, Huneau JF, Fouillet H, Mariotti F. The initial dietary pattern should be considered when changing protein food portion sizes to increase nutrient adequacy in a French adults. J Nutr. 2019 Mar 1;149(3):488-496. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxy275.

De Gavelle E, Huneau J-F, Mariotti F. Patterns of Protein Food Intake Are Associated with Nutrient Adequacy in the General French Adult Population. Nutrients 10: 226, 2018.

Tappy L, Morio B, Azzout-Marniche D, Champ M, Gerber M, Houdart S, Mas E, Rizkalla S, Slama G, Mariotti F, Margaritis I. French Recommendations for Sugar Intake in Adults: A Novel Approach Chosen by ANSES. Nutrients. 2018 Jul 29;10(8). pii: E989. doi: 10.3390/nu10080989.

Tharrey M, Mariotti F, Mashchak A, Barbillon P, Delattre M, Fraser GE. Patterns of plant and animal protein intake are strongly associated with cardiovascular mortality: the Adventist Health Study-2 cohort. International journal of epidemiology. 2018 Oct 1;47(5):1603-1612. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyy030.

Mantha OL, Polakof S, Huneau JF, Mariotti F, Poupin N, Zalko D, Fouillet H. Early changes in tissue amino acid metabolism and nutrient routing in rats fed a high-fat diet: evidence from natural isotope abundances of nitrogen and carbon in tissue proteins. Br J Nutr. 2018.

Pujos-Guillot E, Brandolini-Bunlon M, Fouillet H, Joly C, Martin J-F, Huneau J-F, Dardevet D, Mariotti F. Metabolomics Reveals that the Type of Protein in a High-Fat Meal Modulates Postprandial Mitochondrial Overload and Incomplete Substrate Oxidation in Healthy Overweight Men. The Journal of nutrition 148: 876–884, 2018.

Bianchi CM, Huneau J-F, Barbillon P, Lluch A, Egnell M, Fouillet H, Verger EO, Mariotti F. A clear trade-off exists between the theoretical efficiency and acceptability of dietary changes that improve nutrient adequacy during early pregnancy in French women: Combined data from simulated changes modeling and online assessment survey. PloS one 13: e0194764, 2018.

Tsikas D, Hanff E, Bollenbach A, Kruger R, Pham VV, Chobanyan-Jürgens K, Wedekind D, Arndt T, Jörns A, Berbée JF, Princen H, Lücke T, Mariotti F, Huneau JF, Ückert S, Frölich J, Lenzen S. Results, meta-analysis and a first evaluation of U NOx R, the urinary nitrate-to-nitrite molar ratio, as a measure of nitrite reabsorption in experimental and clinical settings. Amino acids. 2018 May 4. doi: 10.1007/s00726-018-2573-z .

Cantalaiedra-Hijar G, Dewhurst RJ, Cheng L, Cabrita ARJ, Fonseca AJM, Noziere P, Makowski D, Fouillet H, Ortigues-Marty I. Nitrogen isotopic fractionation as a biomarker for nitrogen use efficiency in ruminants: a meta-analysis. Animal 2018;12(9):1827-37. doi: 10.1017/s1751731117003391.

Hermier D, Mariotti F. Importance du métabolisme des protéines et des acides aminés dans la prévention et la prise en charge du syndrome métabolique – Modulation par les acides gras n-3. Cah. Nutr. Diet. 2018. Aout 2018. DOI: 10.1016/j.cnd.2018.06.002.

De Gavelle E, Huneau J-F, Bianchi CM, Verger EO, Mariotti F. Protein adequacy is primarily a matter of protein quantity, not quality: Modeling an increase in plant: Animal protein ratio in French adults. Nutrients 9: 1333, 2017.

Tonguet-Papucci A, Houngbe F, Huybregts L, Ait-Aissa M, Altare C, Kolsteren P, Huneau JF. Unconditional Seasonal Cash Transfer Increases Intake of High-Nutritional-Value Foods in Young Burkinabe Children: Results of 24-Hour Dietary Recall Surveys within the Moderate Acute Malnutrition Out (MAM'Out) Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Nutrition 2017;147(7):1418-25. doi: 10.3945/jn.116.244517.

Hermier D, Mathé V, Lan A, Santini C, Quignard-Boulangé A, Huneau J-F, Mariotti F. Postprandial low-grade inflammation does not specifically require TLR4 activation in the rat. Nutrition & metabolism 14: 65, 2017.

Fardet A, Morise A, Kalonji E, Margaritis I, Mariotti F. Influence of phytosterol and phytostanol food supplementation on plasma liposoluble vitamins and provitamin A carotenoid levels in humans: An updated review of the evidence. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 57: 1906–1921, 2017.

Hanff E, Kayacelebi AA, Mariotti F, Herrmann C,  Obermann M, Das AM, Tsikas D. Analytical challenges in the assessment of NO synthesis from L-arginine in the MELAS syndrome. International journal of cardiology 234: 141– 142, 2017.

Tonguet-Papucci A, Houngbe F, Lompo P, Yameogo WME, Huneau JF, Aissa MA, Kolsteren P. Beneficiaries' perceptions and reported use of unconditional cash transfers intended to prevent acute malnutrition in children in poor rural communities in Burkina Faso: qualitative results from the MAM'Out randomized controlled trial. Bmc Public Health 2017;17. doi: 10.1186/s12889-017-4453-y.

Houngbe F, Tonguet-Papucci A, Altare C, Ait-Aissa M, Huneau JF, Huybregts L, Kolsteren P. Unconditional Cash Transfers Do Not Prevent Children's Undernutrition in the Moderate Acute Malnutrition Out (MAM'Out) Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial in Rural Burkina Faso. Journal of Nutrition 2017;147(7):1410-7. doi: 10.3945/jn.117.247858.

Mariotti F. Editor. Vegetarian and plant-based diets in health and disease prevention. Elsevier, Academic Press. 2017. 45 chapters. 922 pages.

Dagnelie PC et Mariotti F. Vegetarian diets: definitions and pitfalls in interpreting literature on health effects of vegetarianism. In: Mariotti F, editor. Vegetarian and plant-based diets in health and disease prevention. Elsevier, Academic Press. 2017.

Mariotti F. Plant protein, animal protein and protein quality. In: Mariotti F, editor. Vegetarian and plant-based-diets in health and disease prevention. Elsevier, Academic Press. 2017.

Mariotti F. Plant protein, animal protein and cardiometabolic health. In: Mariotti F, editor. Vegetarian and plant-based diets in health and disease prevention. Elsevier, Academic Press. 2017.

Bianchi CM, Egnell M, Huneau J-F, Mariotti F. Plant Protein Intake and Dietary Diversity Are Independently Associated with Nutrient Adequacy in French Adults–3. The Journal of nutrition 146: 2351–2360, 2016.

Bianchi CM, Mariotti F, Verger EO, Huneau J-F. Pregnancy requires major changes in the quality of the diet for nutritional adequacy: simulations in the French and the United States populations. PloS one 11: e0149858, 2016.

Devaux S, Adrian M, Laurant P, Berthelot A, Quignard-Boulange A. Dietary magnesium intake alters age-related changes in rat adipose tissue cellularity. Magnesium Research 2016;29(4):175-82. doi: 10.1684/mrh.2016.0406.

Bost M, Houdart S, Oberli M, Kalonji E, Huneau J-F, Margaritis I. Dietary copper and human health: Current evidence and unresolved issues. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology 35: 107–115, 2016.

Bianchi CM, Huneau J-F, Le Goff G, Verger EO, Mariotti F, Gurviez P. Concerns, attitudes, beliefs and information seeking practices with respect to nutrition-related issues: a qualitative study in French pregnant women. BMC pregnancy and childbirth 16: 306, 2016.

Deveaux A, Fouillet H, Petzke KJ, Hermier D, André E, Bunouf P, Lantoine-Adam F, Benamouzig R, Mathé V, Huneau J-F. A Slow-Compared with a Fast-Release Form of Oral Arginine Increases Its Utilization for Nitric Oxide Synthesis in Overweight Adults with Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in a Randomized Controlled Study. The Journal of nutrition 146: 1322–1329, 2016.

Deveaux A, Pham I, West SG, André E, Lantoine-Adam F, Bunouf P, Sadi S, Hermier D, Mathé V, Fouillet H. L-Arginine Supplementation Alleviates Postprandial Endothelial Dysfunction When Baseline Fasting Plasma Arginine Concentration Is Low: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Healthy Overweight Adults with Cardiometabolic Risk Factors–3. The Journal of nutrition 146: 1330–1340, 2016.

Galmiche G, Huneau J-F, Mathé V, Mourot J, Simon N, Le Guillou C, Hermier D. n-3 Fatty acids preserve muscle mass and insulin sensitivity in a rat model of energy restriction. British Journal of Nutrition 116: 1141–1152, 2016.

Hermier D, Guelzim N, Martin PG, Huneau J-F, Mathé V, Quignard-Boulangé A, Lasserre F, Mariotti F. NO synthesis from arginine is favored by α-linolenic acid in mice fed a high-fat diet. Amino acids 48: 2157–2168, 2016.

Mariotti F, Huneau J-F. Plant and Animal Protein Intakes Are Differentially Associated with Large Clusters of Nutrient Intake that May Explain Part of Their Complex Relation with CVD Risk. Adv Nutr 7: 559–560, 2016.

Graffouillère L, Deschasaux M, Mariotti F, Neufcourt L, Shivappa N, Hébert JR, Wirth MD, Latino-Martel P, Hercberg S, Galan P. Prospective association between the Dietary Inflammatory Index and mortality: modulation by antioxidant supplementation in the SU. VI. MAX randomized controlled trial, 2. The American journal of clinical nutrition 103: 878–885, 2016.

Cantalapiedra-Hijar G, Fouillet H, Huneau JF, Fanchone A, Doreau M, Noziere P, Ortigues-Marty I. Relationship between efficiency of nitrogen utilization and isotopic nitrogen fractionation in dairy cows: contribution of digestion v. metabolism? Animal 2016;10(2):221-9. doi: 10.1017/s1751731115002025.

Mariotti F. Protein intake throughout life and current dietary recommendations. In: Dardevet D, editor. The Molecular Nutrition of Amino Acids and Proteins. Elsevier, Academic Press. 2016.

Houngbe F, Tonguet-Papucci A, Nago E, Gauny J, Ait-Aïssa M, Huneau JF, Kolsteren P, Huybregts L. Effects of multiannual, seasonal unconditional cash transfers on food security and dietary diversity in rural Burkina Faso: the Moderate Acute Malnutrition Out (MAM'Out) cluster-randomized controlled trial. Public Health Nutr. 2018 Dec 18:1-11. doi: 10.1017/S1368980018003452.

Cantalapiedra-Hijar G, Ortigues-Marty I, Sepchat B, Agabriel J, Huneau JF, Fouillet H. Diet-animal fractionation of nitrogen stable isotopes reflects the efficiency of nitrogen assimilation in ruminants. British Journal of Nutrition 2015;113(7):1158-69. doi: 10.1017/s0007114514004449.

Magné J, Huneau J-F, Borderie D, Mathé V, Bos C, Mariotti F. Plasma asymmetric and symmetric dimethylarginine in a rat model of endothelial dysfunction induced by acute hyperhomocysteinemia. Amino acids 47: 1975–1982, 2015.

Mariotti F, Valette M, Lopez C, Fouillet H, Famelart M-H, Mathé V, Airinei G, Benamouzig R, Gaudichon C, Tomé D, Tsikas D, Huneau JF. Casein Compared with Whey Proteins Affects the Organization of Dietary Fat during Digestion and Attenuates the Postprandial Triglyceride Response to a Mixed High-Fat Meal in Healthy, overweight Men–3. The Journal of nutrition 145: 2657–2664, 2015.

Tonguet-Papucci A, Huybregts L, Aissa MA, Huneau JF, Kolsteren P. The MAM'Out project: a randomized controlled trial to assess multiannual and seasonal cash transfers for the prevention of acute malnutrition in children under 36 months in Burkina Faso. Bmc Public Health 2015;15. doi: 10.1186/s12889-015-2060-3.

Kayacelebi AA, Langen J, Weigt-Usinger K, Chobanyan-Jürgens K, Mariotti F, Schneider JY, Rothmann S, Frölich JC, Atzler D, Choe C. Biosynthesis of homoarginine (hArg) and asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) from acutely and chronically administered free L-arginine in humans. Amino acids 47: 1893–1908, 2015.

Schneider JY, Rothmann S, Schröder F, Langen J, Lücke T, Mariotti F, Huneau JF, Frölich JC, Tsikas D. Effects of chronic oral L-arginine administration on the L-arginine/NO pathway in patients with peripheral arterial occlusive disease or coronary artery disease: L-Arginine prevents renal loss of nitrite, the major NO reservoir. Amino acids 47: 1961– 1974, 2015.

Graffouillere L, Deschasaux M, Mariotti F, Neufcourt L, Shivappa N, Hébert JR, Wirth MD, Latino-Martel P, Hercberg S, Galan P, Touvier M. The Dietary Inflammatory Index Is Associated with Prostate Cancer Risk in French Middle-Aged Adults in a Prospective Study–3. The Journal of nutrition 146: 785–791, 2015.

Buffière C, Mariotti F, Savary-Auzeloux I, Migné C, Meunier N, Hercberg S, Cano N, Rémond D, Duclos M, Dardevet D. Slight chronic elevation of C-reactive protein is associated with lower aerobic fitness but does not impair meal- induced stimulation of muscle protein metabolism in healthy old men. The Journal of physiology 593: 1259–1272, 2015.

Guelzim N, Huneau J-F, Mathé V, Tesseraud S, Mourot J, Simon N, Hermier D. N-3 fatty acids improve body composition and insulin sensitivity during energy restriction in the rat. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids (PLEFA) 91: 203–211, 2014.

Tesseraud S, Chartrin P, Métayer-Coustard S, Hermier D, Simon N, Peyronnet C, Lessire M, Baéza E. Modulation of the insulin anabolic signalling cascade in growing chickens by n-3 PUFA. British Journal of Nutrition 111: 761–772, 2014.

Foucault A-S, Even P, Lafont R, Dioh W, Veillet S, Tomé D, Huneau J-F, Hermier D, Quignard-Boulangé A. Quinoa extract enriched in 20-hydroxyecdysone affects energy homeostasis and intestinal fat absorption in mice fed a high-fat diet. Physiology & behavior 128: 226–231, 2014.

Poupin N, Mariotti F, Huneau J-F, Hermier D, Fouillet H. Natural isotopic signatures of variations in body nitrogen fluxes: a compartmental model analysis. PLoS computational biology 10: e1003865, 2014.

Verger EO, Holmes BA, Huneau JF, Mariotti F. Simple Changes within Dietary Subgroups Can Rapidly Improve the Nutrient Adequacy of the Diet of French Adults–3. The Journal of nutrition 144: 929–936, 2014.

Mariotti F, Petzke KJ, Bonnet D, Szezepanski I, Bos C, Huneau J-F, Fouillet H. Kinetics of the utilization of dietary arginine for nitric oxide and urea synthesis: insight into the arginine–nitric oxide metabolic system in humans–. The American of Clinical Nutrition 97: 972–979, 2013.

Mariotti F, Huneau JF, Fouillet H. Parsimonious modeling for understanding and managing the complexity of arginine metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;98(2):508-9.

Camilleri GM, Verger EO, Huneau J-F, Carpentier F, Dubuisson C, Mariotti F. Plant and Animal Protein Intakes Are Differently Associated with Nutrient Adequacy of the Diet of French Adults. The Journal of nutrition 143: 1466– 1473, 2013.

Fletcher SJ, Kalupahana NS, Soltani-Bejnood M, Kim JH, Saxton AM, Wasserman DH, De Taeye B, Voy BH, Quignard-Boulange A, Moustaid-Moussa N. Transgenic mice overexpressing Renin exhibit glucose intolerance and diet-genotype interactions. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2013 Jan 7;3:166. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2012.00166.

Poupin N, Huneau JF, Mariotti F, Tome D, Bos C, Fouillet H. Isotopic and modeling investigation of long-term protein turnover in rat tissues. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2013;304:R218-31.