Author(s): Wong TY, Islam FM, Klein R,Klein BE, Cotch MF, Castro C, Sharrett AR, Shahar E. Retinal vascular caliber, cardiovascular risk factors, and inflammation: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2006 Jun;47(6):2341-50. PMID 16723443
PURPOSE To describe the relationship of retinal arteriolar and venular caliber with cardiovascular risk factors, including inflammatory biomarkers, in a multiethnic population of whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Chinese.
METHODS A cross-sectional study comprising 5979 persons aged 45 to 84 years residing in six U.S. communities. Retinal vascular caliber was measured and summarized from digital retinal photographs. Standard cardiovascular risk factors, including biomarkers of inflammation (e.g., high-sensitivity C-reactive protein [hsCRP], interleukin [IL]-6, and plasma fibrinogen) and endothelial dysfunction (e.g., soluble intercellular adhesion molecule [sICAM]-1 [, plasminogen activator inhibitor [PAI]-1) were assessed.
RESULTS Mean retinal arteriolar caliber was 144.1+/-14.4 (SD) microm, and venular caliber 214.0+/-22.2 microm. In models controlling for age, gender, race-ethnicity, and center, smaller retinal arteriolar caliber was related to higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure, hypertension status, current alcohol consumption, greater body mass index, and higher levels of total homocysteine; larger retinal arteriolar caliber was related to diabetes, current cigarette smoking, and higher levels of plasma fibrinogen; and larger retinal venular caliber was related to diabetes, current cigarette smoking, greater body mass index and waist-hip ratio, higher levels of serum glucose, plasma triglyceride, plasma LDL-cholesterol, hsCRP, plasma fibrinogen, IL6, sICAM-1, and PAI-1 and lower levels of HDL-cholesterol. In multivariate analyses, blacks and Hispanics had larger retinal arteriolar and venular calibers than did whites and Chinese.
CONCLUSIONS Retinal arteriolar and venular caliber is associated with a range of cardiovascular risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes, measures of obesity, and dyslipidemia. Venular caliber is also associated with systemic inflammation.