Age-related changes in the gut increased the risk of developing cardiovascular disease

Age-related changes in the gut increased the risk of developing cardiovascular disease
Age-related changes in the gut increased the risk of developing cardiovascular disease

Experiments on young and old mice have shown a link.


Scientists from the University of Colorado at Boulder have conducted experiments with mice and have shown that altering the gut microbiome in old age can improve the health of blood vessels and the entire cardiovascular system. The results are published in the Journal of Physiology.

Earlier, American researchers demonstrated that human emotions can be associated with the intestinal microflora. Now biologists have proven another connection: the intestine with the cardiovascular system. The discovery came about through experiments with mice.

The authors selected young and old individuals. First, they examined the initial conditions: the gut microbiome, the endothelium (a layer of cells on the inner surface of blood vessels), the stiffness of large arteries, the level of free radicals and antioxidants. They then gave the rodents from both groups broad-spectrum antibiotics to kill most of the bacteria in their intestines.

Measurements were taken three to four weeks after the first dose. In young mice, the state remained the same, but in old mice it changed. The lead author of the article, Doug Seals, noted that the health of the cardiovascular system of the latter improved markedly and approached the level of young people, in particular, endothelial dysfunction was reversed.

To understand the reason for these changes, biologists performed genetic sequencing of another sample of mice of different ages. So they were able to compare the bacteria living in the intestines of young and old animals. According to the authors, they found an increased number of pro-inflammatory microbes in older rodents. For example, they had a lot more proteobacteria - a group that includes salmonella and other pathogens, as well as the genus of gram-negative bacteria Desulfovibrio.

The next step was to track metabolites (metabolic products) in the blood, in particular the organic compound TMAO (Trimethylamine N-oxide), which had previously been associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke. The level of this compound in the blood of old mice was three times higher than the level of young ones.

The discovery explained why blood vessels and arteries lose functionality with age, and, according to the authors, showed for the first time that altering the gut microbiome can affect cardiovascular health.

Earlier, Harvard University staff determined that the number of push-ups can serve as a simple and quick practical test for predicting people's heart health.

Popular by topic