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Cohort profile: LifeLines DEEP, a prospective, general population cohort study in the northern Netherlands: study design and baseline characteristics
  1. Ettje F Tigchelaar1,2,
  2. Alexandra Zhernakova1,2,
  3. Jackie A M Dekens1,2,
  4. Gerben Hermes2,3,
  5. Agnieszka Baranska2,4,
  6. Zlatan Mujagic2,5,
  7. Morris A Swertz1,2,6,
  8. Angélica M Muñoz1,7,
  9. Patrick Deelen1,6,
  10. Maria C Cénit1,
  11. Lude Franke1,
  12. Salome Scholtens8,9,
  13. Ronald P Stolk8,9,
  14. Cisca Wijmenga1,2,
  15. Edith J M Feskens2,10
  1. 1Department of Genetics, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
  2. 2Top Institute Food and Nutrition, Wageningen, The Netherlands
  3. 3Laboratory of Microbiology, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands
  4. 4Department of Toxicology, Nutrition and Toxicology Research (NUTRIM), Maastricht University Medical Center+, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  5. 5Division of Gastroenterology-Hepatology, Maastricht University Medical Center+, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  6. 6University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Genomics Coordination Center, Groningen, The Netherlands
  7. 7Research Group in Food and Human Nutrition, University of Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia
  8. 8LifeLines Cohort Study, Groningen, The Netherlands
  9. 9Department of Epidemiology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
  10. 10Division of Human Nutrition, Section Nutrition and Epidemiology, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Ettje F Tigchelaar; e.f.tigchelaar{at}


Purpose There is a critical need for population-based prospective cohort studies because they follow individuals before the onset of disease, allowing for studies that can identify biomarkers and disease-modifying effects, and thereby contributing to systems epidemiology.

Participants This paper describes the design and baseline characteristics of an intensively examined subpopulation of the LifeLines cohort in the Netherlands. In this unique subcohort, LifeLines DEEP, we included 1539 participants aged 18 years and older.

Findings to date We collected additional blood (n=1387), exhaled air (n=1425) and faecal samples (n=1248), and elicited responses to gastrointestinal health questionnaires (n=1176) for analysis of the genome, epigenome, transcriptome, microbiome, metabolome and other biological levels. Here, we provide an overview of the different data layers in LifeLines DEEP and present baseline characteristics of the study population including food intake and quality of life. We also describe how the LifeLines DEEP cohort allows for the detailed investigation of genetic, genomic and metabolic variation for a wide range of phenotypic outcomes. Finally, we examine the determinants of gastrointestinal health, an area of particular interest to us that can be addressed by LifeLines DEEP.

Future plans We have established a cohort of which multiple data levels allow for the integrative analysis of populations for translation of this information into biomarkers for disease, and which will offer new insights into disease mechanisms and prevention.


This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

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