The human gut is heavily colonized by a community of microbiota, primarily bacteria, that exists in a symbiotic relationship with the host and plays a critical role in maintaining host homeostasis. The consumption of a high-fat (HF) diet has been shown to induce gut dysbiosis and reduce intestinal integrity. Recent studies have revealed that dysbiosis contributes to the progression of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) by promoting two major CVD risk factors—atherosclerosis and hypertension. Imbalances in host–microbial interaction impair homeostatic mechanisms that regulate health and can activate multiple pathways leading to CVD risk factor progression. Dysbiosis has been implicated in the development of atherosclerosis through metabolism-independent and metabolite-dependent pathways. This review will illustrate how these pathways contribute to the various stages of atherosclerotic plaque progression. In addition, dysbiosis can promote hypertension through vascular fibrosis and an alteration of vascular tone. As CVD is the number one cause of death globally, investigating the gut microbiota as a locus of intervention presents a novel and clinically relevant avenue for future research, with vast therapeutic potential.
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