Genetic Deficiency of Flavin-Containing Monooxygenase 3 ( Fmo3) Protects Against Thrombosis but Has Only a Minor Effect on Plasma Lipid Levels-Brief Report

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pediatrics; Gene Therapy Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins | Biochemical Phenomena, Metabolism, and Nutrition | Cardiovascular Diseases | Genetic Phenomena | Hormones, Hormone Substitutes, and Hormone Antagonists | Lipids | Nucleic Acids, Nucleotides, and Nucleosides


Objective- FMO (flavin-containing monooxygenase) 3 converts bacterial-derived trimethylamine to trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. We generated FMO3 knockout (FMO3KO) mouse to study its effects on plasma TMAO, lipids, glucose/insulin metabolism, thrombosis, and atherosclerosis.

Approach and Results- Previous studies with an antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) knockdown strategy targeting FMO3 in LDLRKO (low-density lipoprotein receptor knockout) mice resulted in major reductions in TMAO levels and atherosclerosis, but also showed effects on plasma lipids, insulin, and glucose. Although FMO3KO mice generated via CRISPR/Cas9 technology bred onto the LDLRKO background did exhibit similar effects on TMAO levels, the effects on lipid metabolism were not as pronounced as with the ASO knockdown model. These differences could result from either off-target effects of the ASO or from a developmental adaptation to the FMO3 deficiency. To distinguish these possibilities, we treated wild-type and FMO3KO mice with control or FMO3 ASOs. FMO3-ASO treatment led to the same extent of lipid-lowering effects in the FMO3KO mice as the wild-type mice, indicating off-target effects. The levels of TMAO in LDLRKO mice fed an atherogenic diet are very low in both wild-type and FMO3KO mice, and no significant effect was observed on atherosclerosis. When FMO3KO and wild-type mice were maintained on a 0.5% choline diet, FMO3KO showed a marked reduction in both TMAO and in vivo thrombosis potential.

Conclusions- FMO3KO markedly reduces systemic TMAO levels and thrombosis potential. However, the previously observed large effects of an FMO3 ASO on plasma lipid levels appear to be due partly to off-target effects.


atherosclerosis, glucose, lipid metabolism, thrombosis, trimethylamine N-oxide

DOI of Published Version



Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2019 Jun;39(6):1045-1054. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.119.312592. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology


Full author list omitted for brevity. For the full list of authors, see article.

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