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Potential new class of drugs may reduce cardiovascular risk by targeting gut microbes

August 06, 2018 / Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic researchers have designed a potential new class of drugs that may reduce cardiovascular risk by targeting a specific microbial pathway in the gut. Unlike antibiotics, which non-specifically kill gut bacteria and can lead to adverse side effects and resistance, the new class of compounds prevents microbes from making a harmful molecule linked to heart disease without killing the microbes, which are part of the gut flora and may be beneficial to overall health. In the study, which took place in mice, the new drugs reversed two major risk factors for cardiovascular disease—increased platelet responsiveness and excessive clot formation—by lowering levels of TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide), a gut bacteria byproduct that forms during digestion.