Gut-microbe derived TMAO and its association with more progressed forms of AF: Results from the AF-RISK study

B. O. Nguyen, L. M. G. Meems, M. van Faassen, H. J. G. M. Crijns, I. C. van Gelder, F. Kuipers, M. Rienstra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: The importance of gut microbiome in cardiovascular disease has been increasingly recognized. Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) is a gut microbe-derived metabolite that is associated with cardiovascular disease, including atrial fibrillation (AF). The role of TMAO in clinical AF progression however remains unknown.

Methods and results: In this study we measured TMAO and its precursor (betaine, choline, and L- carnitine) levels in 78 patients using plasma samples from patients that participated in the AF-RISK study. 56 patients suffered from paroxysmal AF and 22 had a short history of persistent AF. TMAO levels were significantly higher in patients with persistent AF, as compared to those with paroxysmal AF (median [IQR] 5.65 [4.7-9.6] m/z versus 4.31 [3.2-6.2] m/z, p < 0.05), while precursor levels did not differ. In univariate analysis, we observed that for every unit increase in TMAO, the odds for having persistent AF increased with 0.44 [0.14-0.73], p < 0.01. Conclusion: These results suggest that higher levels of TMAO are associated with more progressed forms of AF. We therefore hypothesize that increased TMAO levels may reflect disease progression in humans. Larger studies are required to validate these preliminary findings. (C) 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100798
Number of pages3
JournalIJC Heart & Vasculature
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • AF progression
  • TMAO
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Gut microbiome

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