Metabolomics and incidence of atrial fibrillation in African Americans: The atherosclerosis risk in communities (ARIC) study

Alvaro Alonso, Bing Yu, Waqas T. Qureshi, Morgan E. Grams, Elizabeth Selvin, Elsayed Z. Soliman, Laura R. Loehr, Lin Y. Chen, Sunil K. Agarwal, Danny Alexander, Eric Boerwinkle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common arrhythmia. Application of metabolomic approaches, which may identify novel pathways and biomarkers of disease risk, to a longitudinal epidemiologic study of AF has been limited. Methods We determined the prospective association of 118 serum metabolites identified through untargeted metabolomics profiling with the incidence of newly-diagnosed AF in 1919 African- American men and women from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study without AF at baseline (1987-1989). Incident AF cases through 2011 were ascertained from study electrocardiograms, hospital discharge codes, and death certificates. Results During a median follow-up of 22 years, we identified 183 incident AF cases. In Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for age, sex, smoking, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, use of antihypertensive medication, diabetes, prevalent heart failure, prevalent coronary heart disease, and kidney function, two conjugated bile acids (glycolithocholate sulfate and glycocholenate sulfate) were significantly associated with AF risk after correcting for multiple comparisons (p<0.0004). Multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals) of AF were 1.22 (1.12-1.32) for glycolithocholate sulfate and 1.22 (1.10- 1.35) for glycocholenate sulfate per 1-standard deviation higher levels. Associations were not appreciably different after additional adjustment for alcohol consumption or concentrations of circulating albumin and liver enzymes. Conclusion We found an association of higher levels of two bile acids with an increased risk of AF, pointing to a potential novel pathway in AF pathogenesis. Replication of results in independent studies is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0142610
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 6 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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