The gut microbiome plays a critical role in various inflammatory conditions, and its modulation is a potential treatment option for these conditions. The role of the gut microbiome in the pathogenesis of thromboembolism has not been fully elucidated. In this review, we summarize the evidence linking the gut microbiome to the pathogenesis of arterial and venous thrombosis. In a human host, potentially pathogenic bacteria are normal residents of the human gut microbiome, but significantly outnumbered by commensal anaerobic bacteria. Several disease states with an increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) are associated with an imbalance in the gut microbiome characterized by a decrease in commensal anaerobic bacteria and an increase in the abundance of pathogenic bacteria of which the most common is the gram-negative Enterobacteriaceae (ENTERO) family. Bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS), the glycolipids found on the outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria, is one of the links between the microbiome and hypercoagulability. LPS binds to toll-like receptors to activate endothelial cells and platelets, leading to activation of the coagulation cascade. Bacteria in the microbiome can also metabolite compounds in the diet to produce important metabolites like trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO). TMAO causes platelet hyperreactivity, promotes thrombus formation and is associated with cardiovascular disease. Modulating the gut microbiome to target LPS and TMAO levels may be an innovative approach for decreasing the risk of thrombosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas