The Diabetes Pearl: Diabetes biobanking in The Netherlands

Esther Van't Riet*, Miranda T. Schram, Evertine J. Abbink, Wanda M. Admiraal, Marja W. Dijk-Schaap, Frits Holleman, Giel Nijpels, Behiye Ozcan, Hanno Pijl, Nicolaas C. Schaper, Eric J. G. Sijbrands, Bianca Silvius, Cees J. Tack, Harold W. de Valk, Bruce H. R. Wolffenbuttel, Coen D. A. Stehouwer, Jacqueline M. Dekker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Type 2 diabetes is associated with considerable comorbidity and severe complications, which reduce quality of life of the patients and require high levels of healthcare. The Diabetes Pearl is a large cohort of patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, covering different geographical areas in the Netherlands. The aim of the study is to create a research infrastructure that will allow the study of risk factors, including biomarkers and genetic determinants for severe diabetes complications. Methods/design: Baseline examinations began November 2009 and will continue through 2012. By the end of 2012, it is expected that 7000 patients with type 2 diabetes will be included in the Diabetes Pearl cohort. To ensure quality of the data collected, standard operation procedures were developed and used in all 8 recruitment centers. From all patients who provide informed consent, the following information is collected: personal information, medication use, physical examination (antropometry, blood pressure, electrocardiography (ECG), retina photographs, ankle-brachial index, peripheral vibration perception), self-report questionnaire (socio-economic status, lifestyle, (family) history of disease, and psychosocial well-being), laboratory measurements (glucose, A1c, lipid profile, kidney function), biobank material (storage of urine and blood samples and isolated DNA). All gathered clinical data and biobank information is uploaded to a database for storage on a national level. Biobanks are maintained locally at all recruitment centers. Discussion: The Diabetes Pearl is large-scale cohort of type 2 diabetes patients in the Netherlands aiming to study risk factors, including biomarkers and genetic markers, for disease deterioration and the development of severe diabetes complications. As a result of the well-designed research design and the national coverage, the Diabetes Pearl data can be of great value to national and international researchers with an interest in diabetes related research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)949
JournalBMC Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2012


  • Design
  • Biobank
  • Research infrastructure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • The Netherlands


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