Prof. Ram Reifen MD MSc

  • The molecular basis of the inflammatory processes in epithelial tissues induced by selected nutrients:
    • Vitamin A as an anti inflammatory agent.
    • Interaction of vitamin A and iron.
  • Pediatric and maternal nutrition : nutrition and growth in stunted children and IUGR. 
  • Enhancing nutritional quality of foods via genetic manipulations.
  • Food Allergy

List of Publications

1. Reifen R, Gale R, Kerem E, Armon Y, Brand A, Dagan J, Kohn G 1986 Partial detection of the short arm of chromosome 3, further delineation of the 3p25-3ptr syndrome. Clin Genetics 29, 117-120 (2.395, 40/113, 15).

2. Korman SH, Leblanc SM, Spira DT, Elon Y, Reifen R, Deckelbaum RJ1986. Giardia lamblia identification of strains in man. Para Res 72, 173-180 (1.025; 11/21, 46).

3. Armon Y, Steinberg A, Appelbaum A, Brand A, Reifen R, Gale R 1986 Hypoplastic left heart syndrome in the newborn; physiological, surgical and ethical aspects. Harefuah 112, 538-541.

4. Brand A, Reifen R, Armon Y, Kerem E, Horenstein E, Gale R 1987 Double mitral valve complete atrioventricular canal and tricuspid atresia in chromosome p-syndrome. Pediatr Cardiol 8, 55-57 (0.720; 41/69,1).

5. Klar A, Corcos AP, Gross-Kieselstein E, Reifen R, Navon P, Branski D. 1987. Near normalization of metabolic abnormalities by prolonged infusion in a girl with congenital lipodystrophy. Diabetes Care 10, 257-258 (5.4; 16/81, 4).

6. Kerem E, Urbach Y, Reifen R, Ish-Hurvitz M, Abramov A, Branski D.1987 Transient hyperphosphatasemia of infancy. J Child Neurol 22, 890-892 (1.393; 22/69, 2).

7. Steinberg A, Reifen R, Leifer M. 1987. Efficacy of valporic acid in the treatment of Sydenham chorea. J Child Neurol 2, 233-234 (1.393; 22/69, 5)

8. Brand A, Kerem E, Reifen R, Keren A, Branski D. 1988. Myocardial damage following scorpion bite: echocardiograph follow-up. Pediatr Cardiol 9, 59-63 (0.720; 41/69,11).

9. Klar A, Reifen R, Vinograd I, Dudai M, Branski D 1988 Acute hydrops of the gallbladder in a child. Ped Surg 4, 285-287 (0.99; 19/53,4).

10. Sadovsky E, Reifen E, Reifen R, Ohel G.1988. Abnormal antepartum fetal heart rate in high risk pregnancies with good outcome. Asia Oceania J Obstet Gynecol 14, 267-273.

11. Hurvitz H, Barash V, Elpeleg O, Kerem E, Reifen R, Mor C, Branski D. 1989. Glycogen storage disease, Fanconi syndrome, abnormal galactose metabolism and mitochondrial myopathy. Eur J Ped 149, 48-51 (1.220; 24/69, 7).

12. Lysi Y, Werzberfger A, Gavish A, Reifen R, Liberson A, Dudai M.1989. Intrapleural installation of streptokinase in the treatment of organizing empyema. Isr J Med Sci 25, 284-287 (0.5; 53/100, 10).

13. Brand A, Kerem A, Reifen R, Gross-Kieselstein E, Amir N.1989. Echocardiography and Doppler findings in the Williams syndrome. Am J Cardiol 1:63, 633-635 (2.637; 11/53, 8).

14. Reifen R, Nadgari M, Hurvitz H, Barash V, Gutman A.1989. Hepatomegaly in utero in glycogenesis 3. Acta Pediatr Scan 78, 945-955 (1.582; 18/69, 2).

15. Kiderman A, Branski D, Mor Y, Reifen R, Navon P, Abramov A. 1989. Acute urinary retention in childhood: Therapeutic approaches. Ped Rev Commun 3, 303-308.

16. Dolberg S, Hurvitz H, Reifen R, Sternberg A, Navon P, Branski D.1990. Seizures in the course of hepatitis A. Am J Dis Child 144, 130-141 (1.49;8/61 1).

17. Khoshoo V, Reifen R, Gold BD, Sherman PM, Pencharz PB.1991. Nutritional manipulations in the management of Dumping syndrome. Arch Dis Child 66, 1447-1448. (2.12; 9/69, 14).

18. Flechner I, Aronof G, Reifen R, Landau H.1992. Detection of albumin binding abnormalities in the sera of patients with familial dysalbuminemic hyperthyroxinemia using isoelectric focusing. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 18, 229-240 (5.16; 10/90 2).

19. Gold DB, Bhopalam PS, Reifen RM, Harvey E, Marcon MA. 1992. Gastrointestinal manifestations of gastrocystoplasy in children. Arch Dis Child 67, 1272-1276 (2.12; 9/69, 17).

20. Reifen R, Cutz E, Griffith A, Ngan B, Sherman PM. 1994. Tufting enteropathy: a newly recognized disease entity associated with intractable diarrhea of infancy. J Ped Gastro Nutr 18, 373-385 (2.077; 10/69, 44).

21.Reifen RM, Sherman PM. 1994. Intestinal lympangiectasia secondary toneuroblastoma. CanJ Gastroenterol8, 49-61 (0.3; 34/42 58).

22. Reifen R, Rosooli I, Drumm B, Murphy K, Sherman P. 1994. Helicobacter pylori infection in children: Is there specific symptomatology? Dig Dis .Sci 39, 1488-1491 (1.87; 10/42, 46).

23. Khoshoo V, Zembo M, King A, Dhar M, Reifen R, Pencharz P.1996. Incidence of gastroesophaegeal reflux with whey and casein-based formula in children with severe neurological impairment. J Ped Gastroenterol Nut 22, 48-55 (2.077; 10/69, 9).

24. Reifen R, Ashkenazy A, Nyska A. 1996. Use of an in vitro Sabra rat model for the screening of potential agents involved in Celiac disease. Cell Vision 3, 86-89.

25. Khoshoo V, Reifen R, Neuman M, Griffith A, Pencharz P.1996. Effect of low- and high-fat peptide-based diets on body composition and disease activity in adolescents with active Crohn’s disease. J Parent Ent Nutr 20, 401-405 (1.928; 17/50, 29).

26. Reifen R, Altman Y, Zadik Z.1996. Vitamin A levels and growth hormone axis. Horm Res 46, 279-281 (1.22; 61/90, 2).

27. Gilmour S, Hershkop M, Reifen R , Gilday D, Roberts EA.. 1997 Outcome of hepatobiliary scanning in neonatal hepatitis syndrome. J Nucl Med 38, 1279-1282(4.510; 5/72, 36).

28. Zusman I, Reifen R, Lvni O, Smirnoff P, Gurevich P, ,Koroll D, Sandler B, Nyska A,Tendler Y, Madar Z 1997. Role of apoptosis proliferative cell nuclear antigen and p53 protein in the tumor-preventive effect of the high-mushroom-diet on chemically induced colon cancer in rats. Anti-Cancer Research 17, 1-9.(1.456; 59/101, 32).

29. Reifen R, Lerner A, Buskila D.1997. Prolactin in celiac disease: a marker ofdisease activity. Arch Dis Child 77, 155-157 (2.12; 9/69, 8).

30. Rahlenbeck SI, Yohannes G, Molla K, Reifen R, Assefa A. 1997. Infection with HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B in Ethiopia: A survey in blood donors.Int J STD AIDS 8, 261-264 (1.43; 25/34, 22).

31. Reifen R, Agami O, Biesalski H, Weiser H, Naim M. 1998. Impaired sweet-taste responses in vitamin-A deficient rats. Metabolism 47, 1-3 (1.65; 43/83, 7).

32. ZadikZ, Frishberg Y,Drukker YA, Blachar Y, Lotan D, Levy S, Reifen R. 1998. The effect of nutrition on growth in children with end-stage renal disease during and before growth hormone therapy. Metabolism 47, 264-268 (1.65; 43/83, 10).

33. Reifen R,Nyska A, Koperstein L,Zusman I.1998. Intestinal and hepatic kinetics and mucinic changes in vitamin A deficiency. Int J Mol Med 1, 579-582 (1.689, 40/83 8).

34. Reifen R, Blank M, Afek A, Sklan D, Kopelovic M, Gershwin E, Shoenfeld Y.1998. Dietary PUFA decrease anti ds-DNA and anticardiolipin ab in a mouse model of systemic lupus erythematosus. Lupus 7, 192-197 (1.875, 56/114, 18).

35. Reifen R, Reif S, Buskila D, Berkovitz Z, Lerner A.1998. Transthyretin is a reliable marker of celiac disease activity. J Med. 29, 30-36 (0.21; 83/160, 2).

36. Reifen R, Edris M, Nussinovitch A.1998. Fortification of an edible sponge as an intervention model to treat children with vitamin A deficiency. J Hydrocolloids 12, 111-114 (1.357; 13/90, 12).

37. Reifen R, Zaiger G, Uni Z.1998. Effect of vitamin A deficiency on small intestinal brush border enzymes in a rat model. Int J Vitaminol Res 68, 281-286 (0.949; 25/50, 15).

38. Uni Z, Zaiger G, Reifen R.1998. Vitamin A deficiency induces morphometric changes and decreased functionality in chicken small intestine. Br J Nutr 80,401-407 (1.713 ; 12/50, 21).

39. Scheppach W,Bingham S, Boutron-Ruault MC, de Verdier MG, (c), Moreno V,Reifen R, Riboli E, Seitz HK, Wahrendorf J.1999. WHO consensus statement on the role of nutrition in colorectal cancer. E J Cancer Prev 8, 57-62 (1.938, 41/107, 55).

40. Biesalski HK, Frank J, Beck SC, Heinrich F,Illek B, Reifen R, Gollnick H,Seeliger M , Wissinger B, Zrenner E. 1999. Biochemical but not clinical vitamin A deficiency results from mutations in the gene for retinol binding protein. Am J Clin Nut 69, 931-936 (3.958, 3/50, 45).

41. Reifen R, Khoshoo V, Dinari G. 1999. Effect of parenteral nutrition on oral intake. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab 12, 203-205 (0.6, 45/72, 1).

42. Zadik Z, Amer R, Dolfin Z, Arnon S, Cohen D, Mogilner B, Reifen R. 1999. Urinary free cortisol (UFC) values in newborns under stress. J Ped Endocrinol Metab 12, 543-547 (0.6, 45/72, 8).

43.Biesalski H,Reifen R, Furst P,Edris M. 1999. Retinyl palmitate supplementation by inhalation of an aerosol improves vitamin A status of preschool children in Gondar (Ethiopia) Br J Nut 82, 179-182 (1.94, 11/50, 6)

2000-2005   |   ^

44. Reifen R, Matas Z,Berkovitch Z, Bujanover Y.2000. Iron supplementation may aggravate the inflammatory process in colitis induced in rats. Dig Dis Sci 45, 394-397 (1.49 26/45, 38).

45. Levine A,Bujanover Y,Gass S, Reifen R, Lehman D,Reif S 2000. Comparison of assays for anti-endomysial and anti-transglutaminase antibodies fordiagnosis of celiac disease. Israel Med Assoc J 2, 122-125 (0.66, 81/133, 13).

46. Reifen R, AmitalH,Blank M, Sklan D,Berkovitch Z, Gershwin E,Shoenfeld Y. 2000 Linseed oil suppresses the anti-beta-2-glycoprotein in experimental antiphospholipid syndrome. J Autoimmunity 15, 381-385 (2.17, 51/116, 3).

47. Uni Z, Zaiger G, Gal Garber O, Pines M, Rozenboim I, Reifen R.2000. Vitamin-A deficiency interferes with proliferation and maturation of cells in the chicken small intestine. Brit Poultry Sci 41, 424-429 (0.705, 17/44,18).

48. Abbo S, Grusak M, Tzuk T , Reifen R. 2000. The relationship between seed size and calcium content of chickpeas seed. Plant Breeding 119, 1-6. (0.77, 18/57, 13).

49. Wardi Y, Reifen R, Hussein I, Bruk R. 2001. Beta carotene attenuates experimentally induced liver cirrhosis in rats. Israel Med Assoc J3, 151-154 (0.6, 45/107 7).

50. Zadik Z, Wittenberg I, Segal N, Altman Y, Zung A,Reifen R. 2001. Reduction of fat mass and leptin levels in growth hormone treated children. Int J Obesity 25, 538-542 (2.196, 12/50, 3).

51. Reifen R , Nur T, Matas Z,Halpern Z.2001. Lycopene supplementaion attenuates the inflammatory status of colitis in a rat model. Int J Vitaminol Research 71, 347-352. (1.175, 25/50, 16).

52. Dalal I, Benson I, Reifen R,Amitai Z,Shohat T,Rahmani S,Levine A,Balin A,Somech E.2002. Food allergy is a matter of geography after all: Sesame as a major cause of severe IgE mediated food allergic reactions among infants and young children in Israel. Allergy 57, 362-365. (3.66, 3/15, 107).

53. Shoseyov D, Bibi H,Biesalski H,Reifen R. 2002. Repeated allergen challenge in rats increases vitamin A consumption. Chest 122, 1407-1411 (2.96, 6/30 6).

54. Khoshoo V, Reifen R. 2002. Use of energy-dense formulae for treating infants with non-organic failure to thrive. Eur J Clin Nut 56, 921-924 (1.94, 18/50 2).

55. Crawford M, Galli C, Simopolus A,Reifen R. 2002. Social and economic capital and the inequality of international public health.Lancet 359, 258-259 (15.39, 3/107,1).

56. Bruk R, Aeed H , Schey R,Matas Z, Reifen R, Zaiger G, Hochman A,Avni Y. 2002.Pyrolidinedithiocarbamate protects against thioacetamide fulminant hepatic failure in rats. J Hepatol 36, 370-377. (4.97, 5/45, 52).

57. Nur T, Peijnenburg A, Noteborn H,Baykus H, Reifen R. 2002. Similar gene expression patterns in vitamin A deficiency and chemically induced colitis in rats as revealed by DNA microarray technology. J Nutr 132, 2131-6. (3.620, 4/50, 8).

58. Livny O, Kaplan I, Reifen R, Polac-Charcon S, Madar Z, Schwartz B. 2002. Lycopene inhibits proliferation and enhances gap- communication of KB-1 human oral tumor cells. J Nutr 132, 3754-3759. (3.620, 4/50, 68).

59. Reifen R, Nur T, Ghebermeskel K, Zaiger G,Uritsky R, Pines P. 2002. Vitamin A deficiency exacerbates inflammation in a rat model of colitis through activation of NF-kappa B and collagen formation. J Nutr 132, 2743-2747 (3.620, 4/50,28).

60. Reifen R, Haftel L, Manor G, Sklan D, Edris M,Khoshoo V, GhebremeskelK. 2003. Ethiopian-born and native Israeli school children have different growth patterns. Nutrition 19, 427-431 (2.32, 11/53 2).

61. Kori M , Gladish V, SokolovskiaN, Huszar M,Beer Gabel M,Reifen R. 2003. The significance of routine duodenal biopsies in pediatric patients undergoing upper intestinal endoscopy. J Clin Gastroenterol37, 39-41 (1.56 26/47, 14).

62. Dalal I, Binson I, Levine A,Somekh E,Balin A, Reifen R. 2003. The pattern of sesame sensitivity among infants and children. JPed All. Immunol 14, 312-316 (1.57, 6/15, 28).

63. Livny O, Reifen R,Levy I,Madar Z,Faulks R,Southon S, Schwartz B. 2003. Beta carotene bioavailability from differently processed carrot meals in human ileostomy volunteers. Eur J Nutr42, 338-345. (1.864 19/53, 31).

64. Reifen R, Haftel L,Faulks R, Southon S, Kaplan I,Schwartz B(c) 2003. Plasma and buccal mucosal cell response to short term supplementation with all trans-β-carotene and lycopene in human volunteers. Int JMol Med12, 989-93 (1.94 40/83.3).

65. Zadik Z , Borondukov E, ReifenR. 2003. Adult height and weight of breast fed Israeli infants. J Ped GI Nutr;37(4):462-7. (1.402, 25/68, 7).

66. Livny O,Kaplan I,Reifen R,Polak-Charcon S,Madar Z,Schwartz B. 2003. Oral cancer cells differ from normal oral epithelial cells in tissue-like organization and in response to lycopene treatment: an organotypic cell culture study. Nutr Cancer 47(2):195-209.(1.972 18/53, 8).

67. Zadik Z, Sinai T, Zung A, Reifen R. 2004 Vitamin A and iron supplementation is as efficient as hormonal therapy in constitutionally delayed children. Clinical Endocrinology 60,682–687 (3.02, 30/87, 6).

68. Reifen R, Nissenkorn A, Matas Z Bujanover Y. 2004 5-ASA and lycopene decrease the oxidative stress and inflammation induced by iron in rats with colitis. J Gastroenterol 39:514-519. (1.20 33/46, 28).

69. Reifen R, Mor A, Nyska A.2004. Vitamin A deficiency aggravated rotavirusinfection in CD-1 mice through extensive involvement of the gut.Int J VitamNutrRes 74: 355-361 (1.175; 22/50, 4).

70. Zaiger G ,NurT , Berkovich Z, Barshak I, Goldberg I , Reifen R. 2004. Vitamin A exerts its activity at the transcriptional level in the small intestine. Eur J Clin Nutr; 43:259-66(2.13 16/53, 10).

71. Uritski R, Barschak I, Bilkis I, Ghebremeskel K, Reifen R. 2004, Dietary ironaffects inflammatory status in a rat model of colitis. J Nutr 134: 134: 2251-2255 (3.24, 7/53,11).

72. Zhou D,Zaiger G ,Ghebremeskel K, Crawford M A,Reifen R. 2004.Vitamin A deficiency r educes liver and colon docosahexaenoic acid levels in rats fed high linoleic and low alpha-linolenic acid diet..Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 71(6):383-9. (1.74 2/2, 6) .

73. Wolff N, Yannai S, Karin N, Levy Y, Reifen R, Dalal I, Cogan U. 2004. Identification and characterization of linear B-cell epitopes of beta-globulin, a major allergen of sesame seeds. J Allergy Clin Immunol;114(5):1151-8. (.7,25 1/15, 9).

74. Zadik Z pi, Borondukov Ec ,Sinai T s, Zung Ac , Yaniv Ic Reifen Rpi. 2005 Longitudinal monitoring of bone accretion measured by quantitative multi-site ultrasound (QUS) of bones in patients with delayed puberty (a pilot study. Osteoporosis Int.416(9):1036-41; (4.216 22/89 4).

75. Zadik Z pi, Sinai T s, Zung Ac , Reifen Rpi. 2005. Longitudinal Monitoring of Bone Measured by Quantitative Multisite Ultrasound in Patients With Crohn's Disease. J Clin Gastroenterol. ;39(2):120-123. (2.25 19/46 2)

76. Abbo S pi , Molina Cc,. Jungmann, Rc.. Grusak, M. Ac. Berkovitch Z t, Reifen Rs,Kahl G c, Winter Pc and Reifen R pi2005 Quantitative trait loci governing carotenoid concentration and weight in seeds of chickpea (Cicer arietinumL.) Theoretical and Applied Genetics: (3.06 1/48 ,38)

77. Zadik Z pi Sinai Ts, Zung Ac, Reifen R pi 2005 Effect of Nutrition on growth in short stature before and during growth hormone therapy. Pediatrics116;68-72 (4.27 1/73,).

2006-2009   |   ^

78. Aharoni-Simon Ms,Reifen R pi, Tirosh O pi. 2006 ROS-Production-Mediated Activation of AP-1 but Not NFκB Inhibits Glutamate-Induced HT4 Neuronal Cell Death. Free Radic Biol Med. (5.44 43/276, 3).

79. Zhou Ds, Ghebremeskel Kc, Crawford Mc, Reifen R pi Vitamin A deficiency enhances docosahexaenoic and osbond acids in liver of rats fed an alpha linolenic acid-adequate diet. Lipids. 2006 Mar;41(3):213-9(1.935; 24/55, 5).


80. Amit Romach Es,Reifen R pi , Uni Z pi. 2006, Mucosal function in rat jejunum and ileum is altered by induction of colitis. Int J MolMed 18:721-7. (1.85 48/82 11).


81.Karu N, sReifen R, pi Kerem Z pi. 2007 Weight gainreduction in mice fedpanax ginsengsaponin, a pancreatic lipase inhibitor, Journal of Agriculturaland Food Chemistry 18;55(8):2824-8. (3.17 7/103 31).

82. Tirosh O pi, Levy Es, Reifen R pi, 2007 High-Selenium Diet Protects Against TNBS-induced Acute Inflammation, Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Secondary Necrosis in Rat Colon ,Nutrition;23:878-86. (2.10 21/56 12).

83. Stark A pi, Weiss Ns, Chapnik Lc, Reifen R pi. 2008, Dietary intake in Pilots of the Israeli Air Force, Military Medicine 173(8):780-4 (0.640 83/107).

84. Amit-Romach Es, Uni Z pi and Reifen R pi (2008) Therapeutic potential of two probiotics in inflammatory bowel disease as observed in the TNBS model of colitis. Dis Colon Rectum 51(12):1828-36(3.24 24/55 10).

85. Amit Romach Es, Uni Z pi,Cheled Ss, Berkovich Zt, Reifen R pi 2008Bacterial population and innate immunityrelated genes in rat gastroitnerstinaltract are alteredby a vitamin A deficient diet. Journal Nutritional Biochemistry, 20(1):70-7 (4.352, 4/59.5).

86. Shamir M pi, Shilo Yc, Friedman Ac, Chai Oc,Reifen Rc, and Miarac L.2008 Sub occipitalcraniectomy in a Lion (Panthera leo)with occipitalbone malformation and hypovitaminosis A, J of Zoo and Wild Life Medicine, 39(3):455-9. (0.386 98/135, 2).

2010-   |   ^

87. Lubetzki Rs Mimouni FB pi, Dolberg Sc,Reifen R pi,Ashbel Gc,Mandel Dc. 2010 2010. The effect of musicby Mozart on energyexpenditure in growing preterminfants. Pediatrics, 125(1):24-8 (4.68 3/94 3)

88. Amit Romach Es, Uni Z pi, Reifen R pi. 2010. Multistep Mechanism of Probiotic bacterium, the Effect on Innate Immune System", Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 54(2):277-84. (4.35 1/118, 8)

89. R Gross-Tsubery Rs,Chai Oc, Shilo Yc,Miara Lc, Horowitz Ic,Shmueli A c, Itzhak Aizenberg I c, Hoffman C c, Reifen R c and Shamir M pi 2010. Computed tomography analysis of skull malformation related to vitamin A deficiency in lions (Panthera leo) Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound,. 51(1):34–38. (1.055 52/142).

90. Weiss B pi, Barshak I c Onaca N c Godberg I c Berkovich Zt,Meltzer E c,Yonas A c,Reifen R pi,. 2010. Vitamin A Deficiency Associated with Enhanced Proliferation of Bile Duct Epithelial Cells in the Rat. IMAJ, l2:78-82. (0.89, 81/133 1).

91.Brand As, Hallot As Bauer Ns, Ghebremeskel K c, Reifen R pi, Richter-Landsberg C pi 2010.Membrane lipid modification by polyunsaturated fatty acids sensitizes olgodendroglial OLN-93 cells against oxidative stress and promotes upregulation of heme oxygenase-1(HSP32). Journal of Neurochemistry, 113(2):465-476. (3.99, 40/221, 4).

92. Abbo Shahal pi , BonfilD c ,Kerem Z , Berkovich Zt , Reifen R pi 2010.Towards enhancing lutein concentration in chickpea, cultivar and management effects" Plant Breeding. 129: 407-411 (1,02, 72/155 ).

93. Zadik Z pi,Sinai Ts, Zung A c, Reifen R pi. 2010. Functional Food for Acceleration of Growth in Short Children BornSmall fro Gestational Age. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 23:5:435-441 (0.738, 78/94, 2)

94. Dadon Barel S s Shahar R c,Katalan V sMonsenego c E, Reifen R pi.2011Leptin administration affects growth and skeletal development in a rat IUGR model-preliminary study. Nutrition, 27(9):973-7. (2.604 23/66 1)

95. Regev-Tobiass H, Reifenpi, R. Endeveltc R, Havkinc C, Cohenc E, Sternc ,A.H. Stark pi.2012. Dietary Acculturation and Increasing Rates of Obesity in Ethiopian Women Living in Israel. Nutrition;28(1):30-4. (2.604 23/66).11




As part of our studies focusing on Intra Uterine Growth Retardation we look at the hormonal axis in various models of IUGR. In the in vivo model leptin receptor is expressed thus allowing further studies of the mechanism of action of leptin in bone and chondrocytes. The studies focus on bone and growth plate growth in IUGR in utero and post partum in respond to leptin status. Leptin activity is also investigated in the group of IUGR children along their adolescence to distinguish between those who perform a catch up growth and those who remain stunted.


Vitamin A and its derivatives have been shown to regulate the growth and differentiation of gastrointestinal epithelial cells; in addition, vitamin A deficiency has been convincingly shown to be associated with increased susceptibility to infection. The gastrointestinal mucosal barrier, which is a component of the innate immune system, is considered the first line of defense, as it provides a barrier between the external environment and the internal milieu. A disturbance in the integrity of the intestinal epithelium is one of the main factors involved in increased incidence of infections during vitamin A deficiency. In this study, the effects of vitamin A deficiency on microbial ecology and the expression of genes related to the intestinal mucosa\'s innate immunity were examined in a rat model. Using the 16s rDNA method, we demonstrate that a vitamin A-deficient diet increases the total amount of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, and alters the intestinal microflora: Results show a decrease in the relative proportion of Lactobacillus spp. and the simultaneous appearance of Escherichia coli strains. Lack of vitamin A significantly changed mucin dynamics, as reflected by the enlarged goblet-cell \'cup\' area relative to controls, decreased MUC2 mRNA expression in the jejunum, ileum and colon of VAD rats, and increased MUC3 mRNA expression in the ileum and colon of these rats. In addition, vitamin A deficiency down regulated defensin 6 mRNA expression, while upregulating TLR2 and 5 mRNA expressions. The current study indicates that vitamin A deficiency interferes with the integrity of the gastrointestinal mucosal barrier.


Infant formulae formulations have changed over the years to improve digestibility, the stability and availability of minerals, and protein quality. Non-dairy based infant formulae have been developed for infants allergic to cow\'s milk-based formulae are almost entirely based on soybeans. To date, soy-based infant formulae account for about 25% of the infant formulae sold. Numerous concerns have been raised regarding the phytoestrogenic isoflavone content of soy-based formulae. The daily intakes of isoflavone values found for infants fed soy-based formulas have been from 1.6 to 6.6 mg/kg of body weight. The daily exposure of infants to isoflavones in soy-formulas is 6-11 folds higher on a bodyweight basis than the dose that has hormonal effects on adults consuming soy foods, whereas the contribution of isoflavones from breast-milk and cow-milk is negligible. The safety of soy for infant feeding is thus highly questionable. The new developed chickpea-based infant formula contains no phytoestrogenes at all, and therefore may offer a safer and healthier non allergenic non-dairy (vegetarian) formula. We are now in the midst of pilot plant experiments to determine the optimal conditions, test allergenicity and safety of the formula.


Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes transmural inflammation of the gastrointestinal mucosa and is often accompanied by anemia. Treating this anemia with oral iron supplementation is usually not well received and accumulation of reactive iron and elevated oxidative stress markers were found in the inflamed tissue of CD patients. In addition, in animal models of inflammatory bowel disease, iron supplements have aggravated the inflammation.To determine the mechanism of iron accumulation in inflammation, we hypothesize that activation of the cytosolic iron regulatory protein \(IRP\)1 generates upregulation of the iron importers transferrin receptor 1\(TfR\) and divalent metal transporter 1 \(DMT1\) and downregulation of the iron storage protein ferritin. We therefore compare the IRP1 and IRP2 RNA binding activity from biopsies of CD patients to non-inflamed controls and found IRP1-RNA binding activity elevated in patients. In agreement, levels of ferritin, one of the IRP regulated proteins were decreased, and we can mimic this IRP1 mediated misregulation of iron homeostasis in an intestinal epithelial cell-line. We further postulate that perturbation of iron homeostasis leads to the accumulation of iron in the inflamed tissue and the generation of reactive oxygen species, which will further worsen the inflammation.


Plant derived omega 3
We are studying the effect of plant derived omega three on the induction as well as on the course of inflammation in-vitro and in-vivo. We are interested in the potential effect on colitis as well as in neuronal cells.


The vicious cycle of vitamin A
A graphic summary of our research on vitamin A deficiency


We examined salty taste and smell senses of Small for Gestational for Age (SGA) children Vs controls.
Change in salty taste: 27 AGA and 27 SGA children were studied. Groups were further subdivided to those who remained small (22 SGA, 8 AGA) and those who are currently normal (5 SGA, 19 AGA). Identification of a salty taste at any concentration of sodium chloride was considered a right answer. Any other answer,i.e. sour, bitter, sweet or tasteless, was considered a wrong answer. Among the four groups, the frequency of salty taste identification was lowest among the SGA children who had remained small as compared to SGA children whose height was > 10th height percentile ( p<0.01) and to AGA children who had remained small (p< 0.05) The difference between the small SGA and normal AGA groups was not significant (p=0.07). We found that the salt recognition differences between small and normal children change with correlation to their birth weight (p=0.0001).


Food allergy is a common cause for medical consultation. Chickpea, an abundant legume-crop in Mediterranean and Asian countries, is considered a good source of high-quality protein. Despite the intensive research devoted to identifying and characterizing allergens in legume proteins, little is known about the allergenicity of chickpeas and to date, no particular structure or sequence can be described as being solely responsible for the allergenic potential of chickpea. This research aims first to determine the specific proteins that are responsible for the allergenicity of chickpea in humans. Secondly, it aims for identifying common peptide(s) units within these allergens in order to enable a better treatment for chickpea allergenicity. This will allow the development of specific and more efficient technological approaches to decrease, or even eliminate its allergenicity. This process is extremely important since the exposure to chickpea-based foods is constantly increasing at this time.


Lab members

Zipi Berkovich BSc, Biotech

Current Group

Name Degree Project title
Shimrit Bar-el PhD Identification of the epitope responsible for allergy in legumes
Oxana Katz PhD Anemia of inflammation in IBD and Celiac Disease
Maya Moshe PhD Gluten manipulation and gut immunology 
Tali Shaulov MSc Omega three retinoids and tachyarrhythmia
Cheli Gonen MSc Mitochondirial involvement in IBD
Tali Tokeras MSc Vitamin A in utero and CLP
Anat Elkayam amirim In vitro model of inflammation

Past Group

Name Degree Project title Article #
Talia Nur Post doc. Vitamin A as a regulator of gene -expression in the colon  51,57,59,70
Annette brand Post doc. PUFA and iron interaction  91
Nina Bauer Post doc Heat Shock Proteins as sensitive indicators to PUFA in inflammation  91
Gidi Zaiger PhD Characterization of gene expression following vitamin A deficiency in the small intestine 37,38,47,56,59,70,72
DeQuan Zhoe PhD The effect of vitamin A deficiency on fatty acid profile 72,79
Tali Sinai PhD The effect of combined treatment of vitamin A and androgenic hormones on growth in growth-retarded children 67,74,77
Einat Romach PhD The effect of combined treatment of vitamin A and androgenic hormones on growth in growth-retarded children Mucosal changes in IBD models in reaction to change of flora by nutritional modification at different disease states 80,84,85,88
Kot Bol Nyuar PhD membrane lipids and metabolism of lipids in inflammation of the gut  
Liat Koperstein DVM Intestinal and hepatic kinetics and mucinic changes in vitamin A deficiency 33
Stanislaw Ahronov MD The Effect of retinoids and antioxidants on the course of colitis in a rat animal model  
Amdrea Nissenkorn MD The interaction of iron and anti-oxidants: possible effect on the inflammatory process in colitis 68
Lior Haftel MD The bioavailability of carotenoids 60,64
Amit Mor MD Rota virus infection in vitamin A deficiency mice 69
Ronit Lubezki MD The Mozart effect in premature infants 87
Roni Shapira MSc Heat Shock Proteins and membrane lipids
in GI inflammation
Lovemore Nhkata MSc Follow up formulae for preschoolers based on chickpea protein  
Orit Diamant MSc taste and smell alterations in IUGR  
Michal Aharoni MSc Potential preventive effect of high dose nutrients supplementation in a rat model of inflammation – search for mechanism of action 78
Eran Lvi MSc Mitochondrial changes in colitis induced by retinoids 82
Sharon Minai MSc Bioavailibity of folate from foods 78
Ram Uritski MSc Interaction of retinoids and iron –vitamin A anemia. 59,71
Adi Regev MSc mechanism of action of chickpea saponins to reduce cholesterol levels  
Sawsan Farhud MSc. Nutritional deficiencies in children with developmental delay  
Adi Wald MSc. The effect of combined low sodium, high potassium high calcium diet on blood pressure in patients with mild hypertension  
Galia Manor MSc. Vitamin A as a nutritional marker 60
Sally Levy MSc. Nutritional rehabilitation retinoids and growth hormone therapy in children with chronic renal failure 32
Orly Livni MSc. of apoptosis proliferative cell nuclear antigen and p53 protein in the tumor-preventive effect of the high-mushroom-diet on chemically-induced colon cancer in rats 58,63,66
Orly Agami MSc. Vitamin A deficiency and taste alteration 31
Nuha Yunis MSc. Calcium metabolism and vitamin A  
Kelvey Richards MSc. The effect of Perrila leaf extract on the level of tumor necrosis factor alpha in colitis induced rat models  
Zvi Flesh MSc. Vitamin A function in the development of the sensory system  
Talia Zuk MSc. Quality nutrients in the chickpea – nutritional and genetic aspects 48
Liz Rubin MSc. How to eliminate iron deficiency anemia among population at risk  
Maya Shaham MSc. Interaction of retinoids and vitamin D – in vitro studies  
Inbar Wittenberg MSc. Fat mass and leptin levels in growth hormone treated children 50
Riki Ben Dov MSc. Local treatment of colitis with retinoic acid in a rat model  
Yaffa Shiff MSc. Effect of PUFA on birth outcome in a rat model of IUGR  
Hila Sebag MSc. NFkB reporter cell as a model for inflammation  
Yahav Bleicher, MSc. Enrichment of sage seeds with PUFA  
Eli Zinal MSc. chickpea a novel source of non dairy milk  
Adi Ghebert MSc. acids and retinoids effect on cell membranes  
Hadas Regev MSc. Nutritional intervention programmes in the Ethiopian community in Rehovot 95
Michal Alumut MSc. new method for monitoring weight change in children using intima thickness measurements  
Anna Teverovsky MSc. ALA in IBD  




Nutrition lab for the study of growth development and inflammatory diseases

My vision is to enlist knowledge in basic nutritional sciences and to bring it to practical application in order to enhance the health of children and pregnant mothers. My way of doing so, involves bridging between clinical practice and basic science, while moving from clinical observations to understanding the underlying mechanisms. In practice, my research for the mechanism of action of vitamin A, iron and PUFA, separately and in conjunction with inflammation will enable to put forward a model suggesting how to attenuate inflammation. In addition, I work on using staple foods like chickpea to create new, affordable, non allergenic, nutritious formulae for infants and mothers, to combat malnutrition in the developing world.