10 metabolites are associated with risk of stroke.


By Michael Woodhead

8 Dec 2020

The levels of 10 metabolites in the blood such as amino acids and lipoproteins are associated with a person’s risk of stroke, according to metabolomics research

Higher levels of histidine were found to be associated with a lower risk of ischaemic stroke, according to a study carried out at Erasmus University Medical Centre in the Netherlands.

Conversely levels of pyruvate were associated with an increased risk of stroke, according to the analysis of the levels of 147 metabolites among  38,797 people.

Published in Neurology the meta-analysis included pooled data from seven studies in which 1,791 people had a stroke during the follow-up period of two to fifteen years.

Of 10 metabolites linked to stroke risk, the strongest association was found with the amino acid histidine. With every one standard deviation increase in levels of histidine, people had a 10% lower risk of stroke, after adjusting for other factors that could affect risk of stroke, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and body mass index.

“Histidine can be converted to histamine, which has been shown to have a strong effect on the dilation of the blood vessels,” said study author Dr Dina Vojinovic, (PhD), an epidemiologist at the centre.

“It also functions as a neurotransmitter in the brain and has been shown in some studies to reduce blood pressure and inflammation, so this finding is not surprising.”

Pyruvate, which is produced when cells break down glucose, increased a person’s risk of stroke. With every one standard deviation increase in levels of pyruvate, people had a 13% higher risk of ischaemic stroke.

“Pyruvate is critical for supplying energy to a cell and has been shown in previous studies to decrease inflammation, while in contrast, to also increase a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease, so more research is needed,” said Dr Vojinovic.

HDL cholesterols, HDL and HDL2, were also associated with a lower risk of ischaemic stroke, whereas LDL cholesterols were associated with a higher risk of stroke. Associations were also seen with phenylalanine and glycoprotein acetyls.

The study authors said the associations, if confirmed could be used to identify people at high risk of stroke and to understand the aetiology of stroke, and develop future prevention strategies.

“Detailed profiling of metabolic status can provide insights into metabolic changes that lead to a higher risk of stroke. As the metabolome reflects both genome and exposome including exposures to risk factors that determine the risk of stroke, this new –omics technology may open new avenues towards stroke prevention,” they wrote

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