Retinal vascular fractals predict long-term microvascular complications in type 1 diabetes mellitus: the Danish Cohort of Pediatric Diabetes 1987 (DCPD1987)

Rebecca Broe, Malin L Rasmussen, Ulrik Frydkjaer-Olsen, Birthe S Olsen, Henrik B Mortensen, Tunde Peto, Jakob Grauslund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Fractal analysis of the retinal vasculature provides a global measure of the complexity and density of retinal vessels summarised as a single variable: the fractal dimension. We investigated fractal dimensions as long-term predictors of microvasculopathy in type 1 diabetes.

METHODS: We included 180 patients with type 1 diabetes in a 16 year follow-up study. In baseline retinal photographs (from 1995), all vessels in a zone 0.5-2.0 disc diameters from the disc margin were traced using Singapore Institute Vessel Assessment-Fractal image analysis software. Artefacts were removed by a certified grader, and fractal dimensions were calculated using the box-counting method. At follow-up (in 2011), diabetic neuropathy, nephropathy and proliferative retinopathy were assessed and related to baseline fractal dimensions in multiple regressions adjusted for sex and baseline age, diabetes duration, HbA1c, BP, BMI, vibration perception threshold, albuminuria, retinopathy and vessel diameters.

RESULTS: Mean baseline age and diabetes duration were 21.0 and 13.4 years, respectively, and of patients 50.0% were males. The mean fractal dimension was 1.3817. The 16 year incidences of neuropathy, nephropathy and proliferative retinopathy were 10.8%, 8.0% and 27.9%, respectively. Multiple regression analyses showed a lower fractal dimension to significantly predict incident neuropathy (OR 1.17 per 0.01 fractal dimension decrease [95% CI 1.01, 1.36]), nephropathy (OR 1.40 per 0.01 fractal dimension decrease [95% CI 1.10, 1.79]) and proliferative retinopathy (OR 1.22 per 0.01 fractal dimension decrease [95% CI 1.09, 1.37]).

CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: The retinal vascular fractal dimension is a shared biomarker of diabetic microvasculopathy, thus indicating a possible common pathogenic pathway. Retinal fractal analysis therefore is a potential tool for risk stratification in type 1 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2215-2221
Number of pages7
JournalDiabetologia
Volume57
Issue number10
Early online date01 Jul 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

Keywords

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers
  • Diabetes Complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retinal Vessels
  • Young Adult
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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