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Unaccounted risk of cardiovascular disease

the role of the microbiome in lipid metabolism

Joris, Benjamin R.; Gloor, Gregory B.

Current Opinion in Lipidology: April 2019 - Volume 30 - Issue 2 - p 125–133
doi: 10.1097/MOL.0000000000000582

Purpose of review Not all of the risk of cardiovascular disease can be explained by diet and genetics, and the human microbiome, which lies at the interface of these two factors, may help explain some of the unaccounted risk. This review examines some of the well established links between the microbiome and cardiovascular health, and proposes relatively unexplored associations.

Recent findings Byproducts of microbial metabolism are associated with health and disease: Trimethylamine N oxide is associated with atherosclerosis; whereas short-chain fatty acids are associated with decreased inflammation and increased energy expenditure. More broadly, a large number of association studies have been conducted to explore the connections between bacterial taxa and metabolic syndrome. In contrast, the relationship between the microbiome and triglycerides levels remains poorly understood.

Summary We suggest that deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms that drive linkages between the microbiome and disease can be determined by replacing 16S rRNA gene sequencing with shotgun metagenomic sequencing or other functional approaches. Furthermore, to ensure translatability and reproducibility of research findings, a combination of multiple different complementary ‘-omic’ approaches should be employed.

Department of Biochemistry, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

Correspondence to Gregory B. Gloor, PhD, Department of Biochemistry, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond St, MBL 8, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada. Tel: +1 519 661 2111 x83526; e-mail:

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