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Dr. Dalia El Khoury

Honorable Speaker for Nutrition 2020 - Dr. Dalia El Khoury
Dr. Dalia El Khoury
University of Guelph, Canada
Title : Can blood levels of apolipoproteins AI and AII serve as early biomarkers for the metabolic syndrome in adults?


Worldwide, there is an alarming increase in the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome (MetS), a constellation of cardiovascular risk factors including central obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidaemia and hypertension. The use of multiple MetS definitions has led to challenges with determining MetS prevalence. MetS is thus likely underreported and an even greater global health issue. A key limitation is the lack of validated markers for effective prediction of MetS. Valid, more sensitive and easy-to-implement biomarkers for early detection and management of MetS are thus needed. Among emerging biomarkers to date, there is strong evidence on the role of the apolipoprotein (apo) components of high-density lipoprotein, apo AI and apo AII, in the physiopathology of a number of chronic diseases including MetS. However, human studies are limited. Our team has generated pilot data, on 89 adults, from the CIHR-funded family-based obesity prevention intervention Guelph Family Health Study. We analysed the associations of anthropometric and biochemical measurements with blood apo AI and apo AII. A major finding was that the ratio of apo AII to apo AI negatively associated with features of MetS and was the only marker with a negative predictive value for MetS. While promising, this remains to be confirmed in a larger sample of adults. Data from this project will support improved diagnosis of MetS. These biomarkers will also guide the design of lifestyle-based interventions for better prevention/management of the syndrome. Over the longer term, this research could provide a sustainable model for the prevention of MetS, leading to reduced risk for cardiovascular diseases. This translates to reductions in costs to the health care system and the society as a whole. 


Dr. Dalia El Khoury received a BSc in Nutrition and Dietetics (2002) and an MSc in Nutrition (2005) at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. Afterward, she completed her PhD in Physiology and Physiopathology at the University of Pierre et Marie Curie, France (2008). Dr. El Khoury then served as a lecturer at the American University of Beirut (2009-2010), and as a postdoctoral fellow and sessional lecturer at the University of Toronto, Canada (2010-2014). Later, she joined an international leading company in infant and child nutrition, Mead Johnson Nutrition, as senior scientist in Global Regulatory and Nutrition Science for approximately two years (2014-2016). Currently, Dr. El Khoury is an assistant professor in the department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph, Canada. One of her lines of research aims at identifying novel biomarkers for the metabolic syndrome both in children and adults.

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