Background: The gut microbiome influences host physiology and cardiometabolic diseases by interacting directly with intestinal cells or by producing molecules that enter the host circulation. Given the large number of microbial species present in the gut and the numerous factors that influence gut bacterial composition, it has been challenging to understand the underlying biological mechanisms that modulate risk of cardiometabolic disease.
Scope of the review: Here we discuss a systems-based approach that involves simultaneously examining individuals in populations for gut microbiome composition, molecular traits using "omics" technologies, such as circulating metabolites quantified by mass spectrometry, and clinical traits. We summarize findings from landmark studies using this approach and discuss future applications.
Major conclusions: Population-based integrative approaches have identified a large number of microbe-derived or microbe-modified metabolites that are associated with cardiometabolic traits. The knowledge gained from these studies provide new opportunities for understanding the mechanisms involved in gut microbiome-host interactions and may have potentially important implications for developing novel therapeutic approaches.
Keywords: cardiometabolic diseases; gut microbiome; metabolomics; systems genetics.
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