Untargeted Metabolomics in the Discovery of Novel Biomarkers and Therapeutic Targets for Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Diseases
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BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Four out of five CVD deaths are due to myocardial infarction or stroke. Despite many initiatives that have been established for CVD prevention and risk management, and new therapies to treat existing CVD, patients continue to die from cardiac events. Clearly, we need to identify new therapeutic targets and strategies. Metabolomics offers a novel solution to this problem, as metabolomics-based biomarkers do not only indicate the presence or absence of a disease, but are also capable of assessing risks of developing the disease and detecting the disease prior to the appearance of overt clinical symptoms. METHOD: In this review, we describe the analytical techniques and workflow used in untargeted metabolomics. We also identify several case studies that highlight the use of untargeted metabolomics in cardiovascular research. RESULTS: Five case studies that employ untargeted metabolomics approaches to identify biomarkers for cardiovascular risk, myocardial ischemia, transient ischemic attack, incident coronary heart disease, and myocardial infarction risk prediction are described. The use of the untargeted metabolomics is still relatively new in cardiovascular research. As such, there remains a need for future advancement in metabolomic technologies. CONCLUSION: Early diagnosis of CVDs and identification of patients at high risk of developing adverse events would allow for timely intervention that prevents serious consequences or death. There is a need to establish sensitive and non-invasive CV biomarkers, and novel therapeutic targets for the prevention and treatment of CVDs.
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