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Cardiovascular disease


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Patient and mouse studies suggest inhibiting intestinal microbiota-mediated metabolism of l-carnitine could help prevent atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. In a cohort of 2,595 subjects undergoing cardiac evaluation, elevated levels of l-carnitine and trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) in plasma were associated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and the occurrence of an adverse cardiovascular event. Mouse and human gut microbiota were shown to metabolize l-carnitine to produce TMAO. In a mouse model for atherosclerosis, antibiotics prevented l-carnitine-mediated increases in disease. Next steps could include screening for compounds that inhibit production of TMAO by the microbiota.

SciBX 6(16); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.388
Published online April 25, 2013

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Koeth, R.A. et al. Nat. Med.; published online April 7, 2013;
Contact: Stanley L. Hazen, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio