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Background: A gut-microbial metabolite, trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), has been associated with coronary atherosclerotic burden. No previous prospective study has addressed associations of long-term changes in TMAO with coronary heart disease (CHD) incidence.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether 10-year changes in plasma TMAO levels were significantly associated with CHD incidence.
Methods: This prospective nested case-control study included 760 healthy women at baseline. Plasma TMAO levels were measured both at the first (1989 to 1990) and the second (2000 to 2002) blood collections; 10-year changes (Δ) in TMAO were calculated. Incident cases of CHD (n = 380) were identified after the second blood collection through 2016 and were matched to controls (n = 380).
Results: Regardless of the initial TMAO levels, 10-year increases in TMAO from the first to second blood collection were significantly associated with an increased risk of CHD (relative risk [RR] in the top tertile: 1.58 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.05 to 2.38]; RR per 1-SD increment: 1.33 [95% CI: 1.06 to 1.67]). Participants with elevated TMAO levels (the top tertile) at both time points showed the highest RR of 1.79 (95% CI: 1.08 to 2.96) for CHD as compared with those with consistently low TMAO levels. Further, we found that the ΔTMAO-CHD relationship was strengthened by unhealthy dietary patterns (assessed by the Alternate Healthy Eating Index) and was attenuated by healthy dietary patterns (p interaction = 0.008).
Conclusions: Long-term increases in TMAO were associated with higher CHD risk, and repeated assessment of TMAO over 10 years improved the identification of people with a higher risk of CHD. Diet may modify the associations of ΔTMAO with CHD risk.
Yoriko Heianza,Wenjie Ma,Joseph A DiDonato,Qi Sun,Eric B Rimm,Frank B Hu,Kathryn M Rexrode,JoAnn E Manson,Lu Qi