Normal platelet function is critical to blood hemostasis and maintenance of a closed circulatory system. Heightened platelet reactivity, however, is associated with cardiometabolic diseases and enhanced potential for thrombotic events. We now show gut microbes, through generation of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), directly contribute to platelet hyperreactivity and enhanced thrombosis potential. Plasma TMAO levels in subjects (n > 4,000) independently predicted incident (3 years) thrombosis (heart attack, stroke) risk. Direct exposure of platelets to TMAO enhanced sub-maximal stimulus-dependent platelet activation from multiple agonists through augmented Ca2+ release from intracellular stores. Animal model studies employing dietary choline or TMAO, germ-free mice, and microbial transplantation collectively confirm a role for gut microbiota and TMAO in modulating platelet hyperresponsiveness and thrombosis potential and identify microbial taxa associated with plasma TMAO and thrombosis potential. Collectively, the present results reveal a previously unrecognized mechanistic link between specific dietary nutrients, gut microbes, platelet function, and thrombosis risk.
Zhu, Weifei; Gregory, Jill C.; Org, Elin; Buffa, Jennifer A.; Gupta, Nilaksh; Wang, Zeneng; Li, Lin; Fu, Xiaoming; Wu, Yuping; Mehrabian, Margarete; Sartor, R. Balfour; McIntyre, Thomas M.; Silverstein, Roy L.; Tang, W.H. Wilson; DiDonato, Joseph A.; Brown, J. Mark; Lusis, Aldons J.; and Hazen, Stanley L., "Gut Microbial Metabolite TMAO Enhances Platelet Hyperreactivity and Thrombosis Risk" (2016). Mathematics Faculty Publications. 197.