Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an important heart rhythm disorder in aging populations. The gut microbiome composition has been previously related to cardiovascular disease risk factors. Whether the gut microbial profile is also associated with the risk of AF remains unknown.
We examined the associations of prevalent and incident AF with gut microbiota in the FINRISK 2002 study, a random population sample of 6763 individuals. We replicated our findings in an independent case–control cohort of 138 individuals in Hamburg, Germany.
Multivariable-adjusted regression models revealed that prevalent AF (N = 116) was associated with nine microbial genera. Incident AF (N = 539) over a median follow-up of 15 years was associated with eight microbial genera with false discovery rate (FDR)-corrected P < 0.05. Both prevalent and incident AF were associated with the genera Enorma and Bifidobacterium (FDR-corrected P < 0.001). AF was not significantly associated with bacterial diversity measures. Seventy-five percent of top genera (Enorma, Paraprevotella, Odoribacter, Collinsella, Barnesiella, Alistipes) in Cox regression analyses showed a consistent direction of shifted abundance in an independent AF case–control cohort that was used for replication.
Our findings establish the basis for the use of microbiome profiles in AF risk prediction. However, extensive research is still warranted before microbiome sequencing can be used for prevention and targeted treatment of AF.
Published: 26 Apr 2023
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