Retinal arteriolar narrowing and risk of diabetes mellitus in middle-aged persons.

PubMed ID: 12020333

Author(s): Wong TY, Klein R, Sharrett AR, Schmidt MI, Pankow JS, Couper DJ, Klein BE, Hubbard LD, Duncan BB; ARIC Investigators. Retinal arteriolar narrowing and risk of diabetes mellitus in middle-aged persons. JAMA. 2002 May 15;287(19):2528-33. PMID 12020333

Journal: Jama, Volume 287, Issue 19, May 2002

CONTEXT Microvascular processes have been hypothesized to play a role in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus, but prospective clinical data regarding this hypothesis are unavailable.

OBJECTIVE To examine the relation of retinal arteriolar narrowing, a marker of microvascular damage from aging, hypertension, and inflammation, to incident diabetes in healthy middle-aged persons.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, an ongoing population-based, prospective cohort study in 4 US communities that began in 1987-1989. Included in this analysis were 7993 persons aged 49 to 73 years without diabetes, of whom retinal photographs were taken during the third examination (1993-1995).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Incident diabetes (defined as fasting glucose levels of > or =126 mg/dL [7.0 mmol/L], casual levels of > or =200 mg/dL [11.1 mmol/L], diabetic medications use, or physician diagnosis of diabetes at the fourth examination) by quartile of retinal arteriole-to-venule ratio (AVR).

RESULTS After a median follow-up of 3.5 years, 291 persons (3.6%) had incident diabetes. The incidence of diabetes was higher in persons with lower AVR at baseline (2.4%, 3.1%, 4.0%, and 5.2%, from highest to lowest AVR quartile; P for trend or =141 mg/dL [7.8 mmol/L] as a cutoff), and was seen even in people at lower risk of diabetes, including those without a family history of diabetes, without impaired fasting glucose, and with lower measures of adiposity.

CONCLUSIONS Retinal arteriolar narrowing is independently associated with risk of diabetes, supporting a microvascular role in the development of clinical diabetes.