Metabolite Profiling and Cardiovascular Event RiskCLINICAL PERSPECTIVE
A Prospective Study of 3 Population-Based Cohorts
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Background—High-throughput profiling of circulating metabolites may improve cardiovascular risk prediction over established risk factors.
Methods and Results—We applied quantitative nuclear magnetic resonance metabolomics to identify the biomarkers for incident cardiovascular disease during long-term follow-up. Biomarker discovery was conducted in the National Finnish FINRISK study (n=7256; 800 events). Replication and incremental risk prediction was assessed in the Southall and Brent Revisited (SABRE) study (n=2622; 573 events) and British Women’s Health and Heart Study (n=3563; 368 events). In targeted analyses of 68 lipids and metabolites, 33 measures were associated with incident cardiovascular events at P<0.0007 after adjusting for age, sex, blood pressure, smoking, diabetes mellitus, and medication. When further adjusting for routine lipids, 4 metabolites were associated with future cardiovascular events in meta-analyses: higher serum phenylalanine (hazard ratio per standard deviation, 1.18; 95% confidence interval, 1.12–1.24; P=4×10–10) and monounsaturated fatty acid levels (1.17; 1.11–1.24; P=1×10–8) were associated with increased cardiovascular risk, while higher omega-6 fatty acids (0.89; 0.84–0.94; P=6×10–5) and docosahexaenoic acid levels (0.90; 0.86–0.95; P=5×10–5) were associated with lower risk. A risk score incorporating these 4 biomarkers was derived in FINRISK. Risk prediction estimates were more accurate in the 2 validation cohorts (relative integrated discrimination improvement, 8.8% and 4.3%), albeit discrimination was not enhanced. Risk classification was particularly improved for persons in the 5% to 10% risk range (net reclassification, 27.1% and 15.5%). Biomarker associations were further corroborated with mass spectrometry in FINRISK (n=671) and the Framingham Offspring Study (n=2289).
Conclusions—Metabolite profiling in large prospective cohorts identified phenylalanine, monounsaturated fatty acids, and polyunsaturated fatty acids as biomarkers for cardiovascular risk. This study substantiates the value of high-throughput metabolomics for biomarker discovery and improved risk assessment.
- Received September 7, 2014.
- Accepted January 2, 2015.
- © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.