Cleveland Clinic, Tufts University research ties gut microbial TMAO pathway to chronic kidney disease

April 11, 2024- New findings from Cleveland Clinic and Tufts University researchers show high blood levels of TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide) predicts future risk of developing chronic kidney disease over time.

The findings build on more than a decade of research spearheaded by Stanley Hazen, M.D., Ph.D., and a team related to the gut microbiome’s role in cardiovascular health and disease, including the adverse effects of TMAO, a byproduct formed by the gut bacteria from nutrients abundant in red meat, eggs and other animal source foods.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, was a collaboration between a Cleveland Clinic research team led by Dr. Hazen and investigators from the Food is Medicine Institute at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, including first author Meng Wang, Ph.D., and co-senior author Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.PH.

The large-scale study measured blood levels of TMAO over time in two large National Institutes of Health populations and followed the kidney function of more than 10,000 U.S. adults with normal kidney function at baseline over an average follow-up period of 10 years. The investigators found that participants with elevated TMAO blood levels were at increased risk for future development of chronic kidney disease.

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