The Stable Isotope Research Centre (SIRC)

The Stable Isotope Research Centre (SIRC) was started in 1993 as a joint collaboration between the Maastricht University School of Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism (NUTRIM) and the Academic Hospital Maastricht (azM). The aim of the SIRC is to provide analytical facilities and expertise that enables researchers of the two institutions to incorporate stable isotope techniques in nutritional, physiological and clinical studies. 

Stable isotope tracers
Stable isotope tracers (glucose, fatty acids and amino acids labelled with 2H, 13C and 15N-atoms) are ingested orally or infused directly into the blood stream. The metabolic fate of the tracer molecules can subsequently be followed and conversion rates quantitated such that information can be obtained on the rate of substrate oxidation and on the flux rates through degradation or synthesis pathways. 
The techniques are applied to healthy subjects of all ages and body constitutions, top-athletes, and a variety of patients (diabetes type 2, surgical patients, cancer patients, patients with chronic obstructive lung disease, patients with impaired cardiac function; morbidly obese patients and intensive care unit patients). The use of tracers, thereby:

  1. deepens the information and mechanistic insights that can be gained on the development of both age- and inactivity-related metabolic adaptations and diseases and of the indicated acquired diseases;
  2. leads the way to new therapies and reconditioning programs;
  3. provides a tool to quantitate the effect of therapies and drugs on key metabolic processes.

Information: Prof. dr. L. van Loon, Department of Human Biology