The emerging role of gut microbial metabolism on cardiovascular disease

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2019 Aug:50:64-70. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2019.09.007. Epub 2019 Nov 3.


The gut microbiome has been implicated in the progression of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) including hypertension, dyslipidemia, atherosclerosis, thrombosis, heart failure, and ischemic stroke. Metabolomics studies in humans and diverse mouse populations have revealed associations between diet-derived gut bacterial metabolites, including trimethylamine-N-oxide, short-chain fatty acids, and intermediates of aromatic amino acid breakdown, with progression of CVD. Functional studies in animals fed diets of defined composition have been instrumental for establishing causal links between these metabolites, the microbes that produce them, dietary substrates and disease. The purpose of this review is to discuss recent progress in our understanding of how gut microbial metabolism of food influences the development of CVD and to outline experimental approaches that can be useful for addressing crucial knowledge gaps in the field. Together, this body of work supports the notion that the gut microbiomes mediate many of the effects of diet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / microbiology*
  • Diet*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Metabolomics*
  • Methylamines / blood
  • Methylamines / metabolism
  • Mice


  • Methylamines
  • trimethyloxamine