OBJECTIVE - To describe and compare the associations of serum lipoproteins and apolipoproteins with diabetic retinopathy. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - This was a cross-sectional study of 224 diabetic patients (85 type 1 and 139 type 2) froma diabetes clinic. Diabetic retinopathy was graded from fundus photographs according to the Airlie House Classification system and categorized into mild, moderate, and vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy (VTDR). Serum traditional lipids (total, LDL, non-HDL, and HDL cholesterol and triglycerides) and apolipoprotein AI (apoAI), apolipoprotein B (apoB), and the apoB-to-apoAI ratio were assessed. RESULTS - Diabetic retinopathy was present in 133 (59.4%) individuals. After adjustment for age, sex, diabetes duration, A1C, systolic blood pressure, and diabetes medications, the HDL cholesterol level was inversely associated with diabetic retinopathy (odds ratio 0.39 [95% CI 0.16-0.94], highest versus lowest quartile; P = 0.017). The ApoAI level was inversely associated with diabetic retinopathy (per SD increase, 0.76 [95% CI 0.59-0.98]), whereas apoB (per SD increase, 1.31 [1.02-1.68]) and the apoB-to-apoAI ratio (per SD increase, 1.48 [1.13-1.95]) were positively associated with diabetic retinopathy. Results were similar for mild to moderate diabetic retinopathy and VTDR. Traditional lipid levels improved the area under the receiver operating curve by 1.8%, whereas apolipoproteins improved the area by 8.2%. CONCLUSIONS - ApoAI and apoB and the apoB-to-apoAI ratio were significantly and independently associated with diabetic retinopathy and diabetic retinopathy severity and improved the ability to discriminate diabetic retinopathy by 8%. Serum apolipoprotein levels may therefore be stronger biomarkers of diabetic retinopathy than traditional lipid measures.
Sasongko, M. B., Wong, T. Y., Nguyen, T. T., Kawasaki, R., Jenkins, A., Wang, J. J., & Shaw, J. (2011). Serum apolipoprotein AI and B are stronger biomarkers of diabetic retinopathy than traditional lipids. Diabetes Care, 34(2), 474-479. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc10-0793