Measurement of retinal vessels as a biomarker of cerebrovascular ageing in older HIV positive men compared to controls

Lewis Haddow, Rosanna Laverick, Irene Leung, Frank Post, Jaime Vera, Richard Gilson, Ian Williams, Marta Boffito, Caroline Sabin, Alan Winston, Tunde Peto, Pharmacokinetic and Clinical Observations in People over Fifty (POPPY) study group

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6 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: To compare retinal vascular measurements, biomarkers of cerebral small vessel disease (SVD), in HIV positive men aged 50 years and above with similarly-aged HIV negative men and younger HIV positive men.

METHODS: We recruited white, non-diabetic men to a cross-sectional substudy of a larger cohort including three demographically-matched groups. Optic disc centred 45° colour fundus photographs were used to calculate central retinal arterial and venous calibre and the arterial-venous ratio (AVR). We used univariate and multivariable linear regression to compare retinal vessel measurements in the three groups and to identify factors associated with AVR.

RESULTS: All HIV positive men were virologically suppressed. In a multivariable model, study group was not associated with AVR (adjusted β 0.010 for HIV positive men <50 [n=39] compared to HIV positive men aged >50 years [n=120], 95% CI -0.018 to 0.038, p=0.47; adjusted β 0.00002 for HIV negative men > 50 years [n=52], 95% CI -0.022 to 0.022, p=0.99). Factors associated with lower AVR were systolic BP (adjusted β -0.009 per +10 mmHg, 95% CI -0.015 to -0.003, p=0.002), history of stroke or transient ischemic attack (adjusted β -0.070, 95% CI -0.12 to -0.015, p=0.01), and recent recreational drug use (adjusted β -0.037, 95% CI -0.057 to -0.018, p=0.0002).

CONCLUSION: There were no differences in retinal vascular indices between HIV positive men aged >50 years and HIV negative men aged >50 years or HIV positive men aged <50 years, suggesting that HIV is not associated with an increased burden of cerebral SVD.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Early online date14 Oct 2017
Publication statusEarly online date - 14 Oct 2017


  • Journal Article

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