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A disturbed gut microbiota is an enemy for cardiovascular health

The gut-heart axis is gaining attention as a novel therapeutic tool to reduce the risk and severity of heart attacks. However, the interplay between microbiota, their metabolites and the development and progression of cardiovascular diseases is complex and human trials are scarce. A recently published review presents novel insights in how  the microbiota and probiotics could modulate risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.

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Myocardial infarction (MI), also called a heart attack, is the main cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide.  It is commonly caused by hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), a process in which fatty plagues build up in the inner lining of an artery. 


Recent animal and human studies have revealed that a disturbed gut microbiota has an important role in the development  and progression of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. It is reported that patients with chronic heart failure have an overgrowth of pathogens and Candida species in their gut along with increased gut permeability [1]. Also a distinctive microbiome signature has been seen in patients with atherosclerosis and with high cardiovascular risk profile [2,3]. Moreover, a recent study showed that patients with atherosclerosis had depleted levels of butyrate producing bacteria and common members of the gut microbiome [4]. 




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Gut dysbiosis and pathology of myocardial infarction.

Genetic and different environmental factors such as obesity, lifestyle, and diet lead to microbial dysbiosisand overgrowth of pathogens that cause the loss of barrier integrity and the rupture in the epithelial barrier. Translocation of bacteria and their components into systemiccirculation through the leaky gut trigger systemic endotoxemia and inflammation.

Source Pharmacological research, reference 10.



Balancing the gut microbiota could offer therapeutic benefits for cardiovascular health. A balanced gut microbiota can modulate risk factors for a MI such as; oxidative stress, obesity, blood pressure, cholesterol metabolism, leptin levels etc. The precise mechanisms by which a friendly microbiome may decline risk factors include the modulation of fat and cholesterol metabolism and production of anti-oxidants. Moreover, it can enhance the host’s immunological and cellular responses and affect the host gene expression and physiology [5-9].


A recently published study reviewed the association of gut microbiota dysbiosis and MI and investigated how changes in the gut microbiota can reduce the risk factors for MI [10]. 


Based on the studied literature the researchers are positive for probiotics to present an alternative therapy for eliminating the formation, progression, and finally breaking down of atherosclerotic plaque [7]. Administration of probiotics and prebiotics in combination with standard medication, can offer benefits in controlling immune responses and reducing MI-size and the severity of heart failure after MI. A better understanding of aspects of gut-heart-axis  is compulsory to gain further insights and define a basis for novel therapeutic approaches.



Read the scientific article 


1.     E. Pasini, et al., Pathogenic gut flora in patients with chronic heart failure,JACC Heart Fail 4 (3) (2016) 220–227.

2.     W.H. Tang, S.L. Hazen, The gut microbiome and its role in cardiovasculardiseases, Circulation 135 (11) (2017) 1008–1010.

3.     G. Lippi, et al., The Intriguing link between the intestinal microbiota andcardiovascular disease, Semin. Thromb. Hemost. 43 (6) (2017) 609–613.

4. al. Jie, The gut microbiome in atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, Nat.Commun. 8 (1) (2017) 845.

5.     V. Lam, et al., Intestinal microbiota determine severity of myocardialinfarction in rats, FASEB J. 26 (4) (2012) 1727–1735.

6.     X.T. Gan, et al., Probiotic administration attenuates myocardial hypertrophyand heart failure after myocardial infarction in the rat, Circ Heart Fail 7 (3)(2014) 491–499.

7.     K. McCafferty, C. Byrne, M. Yaqoob, Intestinal microbiota determine severityof myocardial infarction in rats, FASEB J. 26 (11) (2012) 4388 (author reply4388-9).

8.     S.A. Girard, et al., Lactobacillus helveticus and bifidobacterium longum taken incombination reduce the apoptosis propensity in the limbic system aftermyocardial infarction in a rat model, Br. J. Nutr. 102 (10) (2009) 1420–1425.

9.     J. Rafter, The effects of probiotics on colon cancer development, Nutr. Res.Rev. 17 (2) (2004) 277–284.

10.   S. Zununi Vaheda, A. Barzegarib, M. Zuluagab, D. Letourneurb, G. Pavon-Djavidb. Myocardial infarction and gut microbiota: An incidental connection. Pharmacol Res. 2017 Nov 10.




A disturbed gut microbiota is an enemy for cardiovascular health

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