Groundbreaking Insights into Predictive Metabolites of Heart Attacks 

11th October 2023 – by Aaruthy Suthahar

In a groundbreaking collaborative effort encompassing six intercontinental cohorts including TwinsUK, the Consortium of Metabolomics Studies (COMETS) has identified 10 novel molecules measured in serum that were associated with incident myocardial infarction (MI), commonly known as a heart attack. This research, representing the largest of its kind, included 7,897 people and has far-reaching implications for identifying at-risk individuals before the onset of this life-threatening condition. 

MI is a leading global cause of death and disability, underscoring the importance of early prediction and intervention. Previous studies measuring hundreds of serum molecules to identify biomarkers of MI have been restricted by limited participant numbers and/or demographic diversity. However, COMETS’ extensive research has addressed these limitations. 

In this study, individuals averaging 66 years of age were drawn from six distinct international cohorts, with their blood metabolomes analyzed. Coupled with data on 1,373 MI cases, the researchers executed a two-stage Individual Patient Data meta-analysis. 

The results were nothing short of groundbreaking. 56 metabolites, including 21 lipids and 17 amino acids, were linked to incident MI, with 10 of them not being reported before notably, the carbohydrate mannitol/sorbitol emerged with the highest increased risk, while glutamine exhibited the most significant decrease in risk. 

Moreover, these identified metabolites were substantially enriched in pathways previously associated with cardiovascular diseases, such as aminoacyl-tRNA biosynthesis. This reinforces the potential clinical relevance of these biomarkers. 

Senior author Cristina Menni explained:  

‘The identified molecules offer a promising avenue for early detection and risk assessment before the onset of heart disease. This is a significant breakthrough in cardiovascular research, as it can potentially enable healthcare professionals to identify individuals at risk of heart attacks well in advance, allowing for proactive interventions and personalized healthcare strategies.’ 

First author Ana Nogal said: 

‘The implications of this study are profound. The identified metabolites could serve as powerful tools for identifying individuals at high risk of MI before the disease manifests clinically. As a result, this research not only advances our comprehension of the molecular changes underlying MI development but also opens new avenues for clinical prediction and a more profound understanding of causal mechanisms.’ 

In a world where heart attacks remain a major public health concern, COMETS’ collaborative effort signifies the importance of multidisciplinary research and holds the promise of uncovering universal biomarkers that can save countless lives. 

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