Researchers identify metabolites linked to coronary heart disease risk in African Americans

Hand of a lab technician holds blood tube test in front of background rack of color tubes with blood samples other patients.

Researchers are reporting the identification of more than a dozen metabolic biomarkers that may influence the development of coronary heart disease (CHD) in African Americans. The study could lead to more personalized treatment approaches for heart disease in this at-risk group, they suggest.  
Studies have shown that African Americans are at greater risk of developing CHD than white individuals. However, African Americans have been underrepresented in studies of CHD risk and established risk prediction models do not fully capture their risk. Better ways to assess CHD risk among African Americans are needed, researchers say.     

In the current study, the researchers analyzed metabolites associated with CHD risk using the plasma of 2,346 participants in the Jackson Heart Study, the largest investigation of causes of cardiovascular disease in African Americans, over the course of over 15 years. They also performed a replication analysis of CHD-associated metabolites among 1,588 multiethnic participants in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), a population-based study that included postmenopausal women followed over a similar 15-year period. 

The researchers identified a total of 22 specific metabolites that appear to be associated with coronary heart disease risk in African Americans. This includes 13 metabolites associated with CHD that were also replicated in the WHI study and nine novel metabolites.  

The study, funded in part by the NHLBI, appeared in JAMA Cardiology .