Vascular Cures’ CPCR grant recipient Dr. Karen Ho of Northwestern University, recently published the results of her study’s first milestone ‘Microbiome-Modulated Metabolites and Advanced Atherosclerosis’ in the Journal of Vascular Surgery. The goal of this study is to determine if metabolites from gut microbes are reliable markers for atherosclerosis or peripheral artery disease, and if they can be used to identify increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Part one of Dr. Ho‘s study is designed to understand the link between metabolites produced by certain gut microbes and severe atherosclerosis. The results show that patients with advanced atherosclerosis have comparatively lower plasma concentrations of certain compounds (indole, tryptophan, indole3-propionic acid, and indole-3- aldehyde), while having a higher ratio of other metabolites (kynurenine/tryptophan) than patients in the control group.

The second part of Dr. Ho’s study will look at the impact of these metabolites on systemic inflammation in patients with advanced atherosclerosis. Dr. Ho’s team hopes to understand if targeting the microbes or their metabolic pathways can have a therapeutic benefit for PAD patients.

Vascular Cures launched its Collaborative Patient-Centered Research (CPCR) Grants Program in 2017 as part of its mission to advance collaborative research across vascular healthcare. Recipients each received $100,000 to conduct short-term, high impact projects which generate results within 1 – 2 years. Dr. Ho’s project is one of two funded in 2017.