The Gut Microbiome in Health and in Disease

Andrew B. Shreiner; John Y. Kao; Vincent B. Young


Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2015;31(1):69-75. 

In This Article

Cardiovascular Disease

There is growing interest in a link between microbiota and cardiovascular disease on the basis of data showing microbial metabolism of dietary phosphatidylcholine into the proatherosclerotic metabolite trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO).[29] A recent study of healthy patients challenged with dietary phosphatidylcholine showed increased plasma levels of TMAO that were suppressed by prior treatment with antibiotics. They also found that plasma TMAO levels were associated with increased risk for cardiovascular events in patients with cardiovascular disease risk factors.[30] In another study,[31] the same group showed that healthy human volunteers who maintained a vegan diet, as opposed to those on omnivorous diets, did not demonstrate increased plasma TMAO levels after dietary phosphatidylcholine challenge, and this trait was associated with specific fecal microbiota compositional states. Thus, there is much interest in this microbiota-dependent pathway that may offer diagnostic and therapeutic potential for cardiovascular disease.