Retinal microvascular parameters are not associated with diabetes in the Northern Ireland Cohort for the Longitudinal Study of Ageing

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: The retinal microvasculature offers unique non-invasive evaluation of systemic microvascular abnormalities. Previous studies reported associations between retinal microvascular parameters (RMPs) and diabetes. The aim of this study was to assess associations between RMPs and diabetes in a cross-sectional analysis of older persons from the Northern Ireland Cohort for the Longitudinal Study of Ageing (NICOLA).

METHODS: RMPs (central retinal arteriolar/venular equivalents, arteriolar to venular ratio, fractal dimension, and tortuosity) were measured from optic disc-centred fundus images using semi-automated software. Associations were assessed between RMPs and diabetes status with adjustment for potential confounders.

RESULTS: Data were included for 1762 participants with 209 classified as having diabetes. Participants had a mean age of 62.1 ± 8.5 years, and 54% were female. As expected, participants with diabetes had significantly higher mean glycated haemoglobin A1c compared to participants without diabetes (57.4 ± 17.6 mmol/mol versus 37.0 ± 4.2 mmol/mol, respectively). In unadjusted and minimally adjusted regression, arteriolar to venular ratio, arteriolar tortuosity and venular tortuosity were significantly associated with diabetes (minimally adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 0.85; 95% confidence intervals [CIs] 0.73, 0.99; P = 0.04, OR = 1.18; 95% CI 1.02, 1.37; P = 0.03 and OR = 1.20; 95% CI 1.04, 1.38; P = 0.01, respectively), although all failed to remain significant following adjustment for potential confounders. No additional associations between other RMPs and diabetes were detected.

CONCLUSION: Despite previously reported associations between diabetes and RMPs, our study failed to corroborate these associations in an older community-based cohort.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIrish journal of medical science
Early online date09 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 09 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021. The Author(s).

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