Are microvascular abnormalities in the retina associated with depression symptoms? The Cardiovascular Health Study.

Kleins Lab // Publications // Apr 01 2007

PubMed ID: 17384316

Author(s): Sun C, Tikellis G, Klein R, Steffens DC, Larsen EK, Siscovick DS, Klein BE, Wong TY. Are microvascular abnormalities in the retina associated with depression symptoms? The Cardiovascular Health Study. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2007 Apr;15(4):335-43. PMID 17384316

Journal: The American Journal Of Geriatric Psychiatry : Official Journal Of The American Association For Geriatric Psychiatry, Volume 15, Issue 4, Apr 2007

OBJECTIVE Depression has been linked with vascular risk factors and stroke. The authors examined the relationship between retinal microvascular abnormalities and depression symptoms in an elderly population.

METHODS The Cardiovascular Health Study is a population-based study conducted in four U.S. communities initiated in 1989-1990. A total of 2,420 persons aged 65 years and older were included in the current analyses. During the 1997-1998 examination, retinal photographs were performed and assessed for retinal microvascular abnormalities (retinopathy, focal arteriolar narrowing, arteriovenous nicking, generalized retinal arteriolar narrowing, and generalized retinal venular dilation) according to standardized methods. Depression symptoms were assessed by a modified version of the Centers for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale annually from 1989 through 1997-1998 and was defined as a CES-D score of >9.

RESULTS Participants with retinal microvascular abnormalities were not more likely to have depression symptoms, with adjusted odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence intervals) of 1.08 (0.71-1.65) for retinopathy, OR 1.09 (0.71-1.68) for focal arteriolar narrowing, OR 0.85 (0.52-1.40) for arteriovenous nicking, OR 0.97 (0.70-1.34) for generalized arteriolar narrowing, and OR 0.79 (0.56-1.12) for generalized venular dilation. Retinal microvascular abnormalities were not related to depression symptoms in multinomial logistic regression comparing the three top quartiles of the depression CES-D scores with the lowest quartile.

CONCLUSIONS Our study did not find an association between retinal microvascular abnormalities and depression symptoms in older people.