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      Intestinal Microbial Metabolism of Phosphatidylcholine and Cardiovascular Risk

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          Recent studies in animals have shown a mechanistic link between intestinal microbial metabolism of the choline moiety in dietary phosphatidylcholine (lecithin) and coronary artery disease through the production of a proatherosclerotic metabolite, trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO). We investigated the relationship among intestinal microbiota-dependent metabolism of dietary phosphatidylcholine, TMAO levels, and adverse cardiovascular events in humans. We quantified plasma and urinary levels of TMAO and plasma choline and betaine levels by means of liquid chromatography and online tandem mass spectrometry after a phosphatidylcholine challenge (ingestion of two hard-boiled eggs and deuterium [d9]-labeled phosphatidylcholine) in healthy participants before and after the suppression of intestinal microbiota with oral broad-spectrum antibiotics. We further examined the relationship between fasting plasma levels of TMAO and incident major adverse cardiovascular events (death, myocardial infarction, or stroke) during 3 years of follow-up in 4007 patients undergoing elective coronary angiography. Time-dependent increases in levels of both TMAO and its d9 isotopologue, as well as other choline metabolites, were detected after the phosphatidylcholine challenge. Plasma levels of TMAO were markedly suppressed after the administration of antibiotics and then reappeared after withdrawal of antibiotics. Increased plasma levels of TMAO were associated with an increased risk of a major adverse cardiovascular event (hazard ratio for highest vs. lowest TMAO quartile, 2.54; 95% confidence interval, 1.96 to 3.28; P<0.001). An elevated TMAO level predicted an increased risk of major adverse cardiovascular events after adjustment for traditional risk factors (P<0.001), as well as in lower-risk subgroups. The production of TMAO from dietary phosphatidylcholine is dependent on metabolism by the intestinal microbiota. Increased TMAO levels are associated with an increased risk of incident major adverse cardiovascular events. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.).

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          Choline: critical role during fetal development and dietary requirements in adults.

          S Zeisel (2005)
          Choline is an essential nutrient needed for the structural integrity and signaling functions of cell membranes; for normal cholinergic neurotransmission; for normal muscle function; for lipid transport from liver; and it is the major source of methyl groups in the diet. Choline is critical during fetal development, when it influences stem cell proliferation and apoptosis, thereby altering brain and spinal cord structure and function and influencing risk for neural tube defects and lifelong memory function. Choline is derived not only from the diet, but from de novo synthesis as well. Though many foods contain choline, there is at least a twofold variation in dietary intake in humans. When deprived of dietary choline, most men and postmenopausal women developed signs of organ dysfunction (fatty liver or muscle damage), while less than half of premenopausal women developed such signs. Aside from gender differences, there is significant variation in the dietary requirement for choline that can be explained by very common genetic polymorphisms.
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            Is Open Access

            Probiotic modulation of symbiotic gut microbial–host metabolic interactions in a humanized microbiome mouse model

            The transgenomic metabolic effects of exposure to either Lactobacillus paracasei or Lactobacillus rhamnosus probiotics have been measured and mapped in humanized extended genome mice (germ-free mice colonized with human baby flora). Statistical analysis of the compartmental fluctuations in diverse metabolic compartments, including biofluids, tissue and cecal short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in relation to microbial population modulation generated a novel top-down systems biology view of the host response to probiotic intervention. Probiotic exposure exerted microbiome modification and resulted in altered hepatic lipid metabolism coupled with lowered plasma lipoprotein levels and apparent stimulated glycolysis. Probiotic treatments also altered a diverse range of pathways outcomes, including amino-acid metabolism, methylamines and SCFAs. The novel application of hierarchical-principal component analysis allowed visualization of multicompartmental transgenomic metabolic interactions that could also be resolved at the compartment and pathway level. These integrated system investigations demonstrate the potential of metabolic profiling as a top-down systems biology driver for investigating the mechanistic basis of probiotic action and the therapeutic surveillance of the gut microbial activity related to dietary supplementation of probiotics.
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              Susceptibility of human metabolic phenotypes to dietary modulation.

              Dietary composition has been shown to influence metabolism and to impact on the prevalence and risk for certain diseases, but hitherto, there have been no systematic studies on the effects of dietary modulation of human metabolic phenotype (metabotype). Here, we have applied 1H NMR spectroscopy in combination with multivariate statistical analysis to characterize the effects of three diets: "vegetarian", "low meat", and "high meat" on the metabotype signature of human participants. Twelve healthy male participants (age range of 25-74 years) consumed each of these diets, in a randomized order, for continuous 15-day-periods with an intervening washout period between each diet of 7 days duration. Each participant provided three consecutive 24-hour urine collections on days 13, 14, and 15 of each dietary period, and 1H NMR spectra were acquired on all samples. Pattern recognition analysis allowed differentiation of the characteristic metabolic signatures of the diets with creatine, carnitine, acetylcarnitine, and trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) being elevated in the high-meat consumption period. Application of orthogonal projection to latent structure discriminant analysis (O-PLS-DA) allowed the low-meat diet and vegetarian diet signatures to be characterized, and p-hydroxyphenylacetate (a microbial mammalian cometabolite) was higher in the vegetarian than meat diet samples, signaling an alteration of the bacterial composition or metabolism in response to diet. This work shows the potential for the routine use of metabonomics in nutritional and epidemiological studies, in characterizing and predicting the metabolic effects and the influence of diet on human metabotypes.

                Author and article information

                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                April 25 2013
                April 25 2013
                : 368
                : 17
                : 1575-1584
                © 2013
                Self URI (article page): http://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa1109400


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