The Gerontopole of the Toulouse University Hospital, WHO Collaborating Center for Frailty, is studying in its Translational Cohort (also called T-cohort), a group of 1,000 volunteers (still ungoing recruitment) aged 20 to 100 years.

Through its participants, the T cohort will bring together many laboratory biological, tissue, clinical, imaging and digital resources for translational research programs in humans, in comparison with what is being studied on animal models.

The most important INSPIRE research cohort will be made of 1,000 people from 20 years old to the most advanced age. Participants are seen once a year at the Clinical Research Center of the Gerontopole where geriatricians proceed with a thorough evaluation of their functions following the ICOPE guidelines and several biological samplings (cf. Chart 1). For a sub-sample of the participants, some complementary tests are offered such as MRI, DEXA, exercise test (VO2 max) & measurement of muscular strength (Cybex). Between annual appointments, every 4 months, participants will be asked to monitor themselves with the ICOPE MONITOR application. According to the observed results, a more in-depth evaluation may be suggested in order to research the potential causes of a decline (including biological, environmental, social causes and intercurrent diseases) and propose specific and bespoke prevention strategies.
In order to determine links between geroscience and Alzheimer Disease (Amyloïd and Tau proteins), researchers will study plasmatic markers as predictive of Alzheimer Disease.

Here is the list of samples proposed during the first visit to the Centre de Recherche Clinique of Gérontopôle, as well as during the annual follow-up visit (or every two years for some samples): Blood, nasopharyngeal swabs, saliva, urine, dental plaque, superficial skin swabs.

And optional: skin biopsy, hair and stool removal.

Ancillary study CART in the T-cohort

CART or Smart Home, is a study that will be carried out in a sub-group of the INSPIRE translational research cohort, to obtain more refined data on activity and mobility using sensors installed at home. Approximately 100 participants’ homes will be equipped during the period covering the project. This study is carried out in partnership with the University of Portland in Oregon (USA) where these sensors have led to scientific advances over the last 10 years.

Other digital tools will enrich the panel used to date. Thalès and EDF companies, for example, propose measurement technologies that could also be implemented within sub-groups of the T-cohort.

Pre-existing cohorts and samples

  • From the MAPT study biobank:the MAPT study is a trial to prevent cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. This is a randomized controlled versus placebo, multicenter study (13 French centers), which consisted of recruiting and following for 3 years a population of 1680 people aged 70 and over presenting a complaint of spontaneous memory, slow walking or incapacitated for the instrumental activities of daily life. The subjects included were randomized in four groups: placebo, multi-domain intervention (workshops physical activity, diet, cognitive stimulation and control of vascular risk factors), omega-fatty acid supplementation, multi-domain intervention combined with omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. The main judgement criterion of the study was a composite cognitive score collected at inclusion, 6 months, 12 months, 24 months and 36 months. Other criterias were also collected at the same time including the Fried fragility criteria, physical performance (SPPB scale), mood (GDS-15 scale). Blood samples (EDTA plasma) were collected at inclusion and then annually to form a biobank. This biobank is hosted at the CRB-TBR of the Toulouse University Hospital. At the end of the 3 year-period the subjects were offered an observational phase of two additional years during which the same clinical parameters as previously mentioned were collected and monitored.


  • From the NOLAN study biobank: the NOLAN study is a randomized controlled versus placebo, multicenter study (19 French centers), which allowed to recruit and follow 362 people aged 70 and over with a complaint of subjective memory. The objective of this study, carried out in collaboration with Nestlé Laboratories, is to analyze the impact of a multi-target nutritional supplement (Brain Protector Blend) on nutritional biological markers and cognitive parameters, fragility and physical performances. Blood samples (EDTA plasma, serum, red blood cells) were collected at inclusion, at 6 months and after one year to establish a biobank. This biobank is hosted at the CRB-TBR of the Toulouse University Hospital.


  • From the COG-FRAIL study biobanking: the COG-FRAIL study, conducted in collaboration with the MSD-AVENIR Foundation, is an observational study whose main objective is to evaluate, in a population of 345 elderly people with cognitive fragility, the amyloid load of the brain by PET analysis. Subjects receive a clinical evaluation every 6 months during 2 years. More in-depth annual reviews consist of a collection of cognitive data, autonomy, physical performances, nutritional status and mood. Blood samples are collected at 6 months and 24 months to establish a biobank. The COG-FRAIL biobank is hosted at the CRB-TBR of the Toulouse University Hospital. The COG-FRAIL study is still ongoing.