Atherosclerosis is a progressive disease of the mediumlarge arteries and the major underlying cause of most cardiovascular diseases. Despite recent advances in atherosclerosis research, the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathophysiology of this disease are not clear. Conventional methods to detect atherosclerosis are invasive, time-consuming and are associated with significant risk. The identification of metabolomics-based biomarkers of atherosclerosis would allow the development of a reliable, sensitive and non-invasive diagnostic technique. The relative levels of specific metabolites provide a direct functional readout of the physiological or pathological state of an organism and hence, can act as a biomarker of disease and/or biomarker of a specific stage of disease progression. Biomarker discovery also provides insight into established and novel metabolic pathways associated with the pathogenesis and progression of atherosclerosis. In this review, we explore recent progress in metabolomicsbased biomarker discovery in both human and animalbased atherosclerosis research. We highlight the need for direct and translational biomarkers for the diagnosis of atherosclerosis and assessment of atherosclerotic progression.
Vi T. Dang1,2 and Geoff H Werstuck1,2,3*