Gut microbial co-metabolite 2-methylbutyrylcarnitine exacerbates thrombosis via binding to and activating integrin α2β1

Cell Metab. 2024 Mar 5;36(3):598-616.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2024.01.014. Epub 2024 Feb 23.


Thrombosis represents the leading cause of death and disability upon major adverse cardiovascular events (MACEs). Numerous pathological conditions such as COVID-19 and metabolic disorders can lead to a heightened thrombotic risk; however, the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Our study illustrates that 2-methylbutyrylcarnitine (2MBC), a branched-chain acylcarnitine, is accumulated in patients with COVID-19 and in patients with MACEs. 2MBC enhances platelet hyperreactivity and thrombus formation in mice. Mechanistically, 2MBC binds to integrin α2β1 in platelets, potentiating cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2) activation and platelet hyperresponsiveness. Genetic depletion or pharmacological inhibition of integrin α2β1 largely reverses the pro-thrombotic effects of 2MBC. Notably, 2MBC can be generated in a gut-microbiota-dependent manner, whereas the accumulation of plasma 2MBC and its thrombosis-aggravating effect are largely ameliorated following antibiotic-induced microbial depletion. Our study implicates 2MBC as a metabolite that links gut microbiota dysbiosis to elevated thrombotic risk, providing mechanistic insight and a potential therapeutic strategy for thrombosis.

Keywords: 2-methylbutyrylcarnitine; BTT 3033; gut microbial metabolite; integrin α2β1; platelet hyperreactivity; thrombosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism
  • COVID-19* / metabolism
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Integrin alpha2beta1 / genetics
  • Integrin alpha2beta1 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Thrombosis*


  • Integrin alpha2beta1
  • Collagen