Aims To evaluate retinal arterial wall thickness (WT) using high-resolution retinal imaging in patients with type 2 diabetes and assess its correlation with risk factors for arteriosclerosis.
Methods Outer diameter, inner diameter and WT of the retinal artery were measured using adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopy in 28 patients with type 2 diabetes without clinically apparent diabetic retinopathy and normal volunteers. Laboratory values and intima-media thickness (IMT) in the common carotid artery were measured.
Results Retinal arterial WT was significantly greater in patients with type 2 diabetes than in controls (p=0.02). There was a significant correlation of retinal artery WT with IMT in patients with diabetes (r=0.40, p=0.04). WT in patients with diabetes was positively correlated with haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) (r=0.49, p=0.001), total cholesterol (r=0.47, p=0.002) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (r=0.47, p=0.003).
Conclusions Microvasuclar thickness was greater in patients with diabetes than in controls. Furthermore, WT was positively correlated with HbA1c, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and IMT in the diabetic group. These results suggest that retinal artery wall measurements can be potential surrogate markers of early diabetic microangiopathy.
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Contributors Conception and design: SA and AU. Data collection: SA, AU, TM and NG. Analysis and interpretation: SA and AU. Writing the article: SA and UA. Preparation, review and approval of the manuscript: SA, AU, TM, KS, NG and NY.
Funding This work was partly supported by the Innovative Techno-Hub for Integrated Medical Bio-Imaging as part of the Project for Developing Innovation Systems, by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan.
Competing interests NY: Topcon (financial support, Tokyo, Japan), Nidek (financial support, consultant, Aichi, Japan), Canon (financial support, Tokyo, Japan).
Patient consent Obtained.
Ethics approval The Institutional Review Board and Ethics Committee at Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.