Determinants of retinal microvascular architecture in normal subjects.

Kleins Lab // Publications // Feb 01 2009

PubMed ID: 19206002

Author(s): Hughes AD, Wong TY, Witt N, Evans R, Thom SA, Klein BE, Chaturvedi N, Klein R. Determinants of retinal microvascular architecture in normal subjects. Microcirculation. 2009 Feb;16(2):159-66. doi: 10.1080/10739680802353868. PMID 19206002

Journal: Microcirculation (New York, N.Y. : 1994), Volume 16, Issue 2, Feb 2009

BACKGROUND Recent studies have shown that changes in the retinal microvasculature predict cardiovascular disease (CVD); however, little is known regarding influences on the retinal microvasculature in healthy people without overt cardiovascular or metabolic disease.

METHODS We used a semiautomated computerized technique to analyze digitized retinal photographs from a total of 167 healthy people (age range, 45-75 years; 83 female), without clinical CVD, diabetes, or hypertension, randomly sampled from the population-based Beaver Dam Eye Study. We assessed arteriolar and venular narrowing, arteriolar optimality deviation, and other quantitative aspects of the retinal microvasculature.

RESULTS Arterioles were significantly narrower and longer, had wider branching angles, and were more tortuous than venules. Increased arteriolar length to diameter ratio (an index of ratio arteriolar narrowing) was positively and independently associated with older age and elevated systolic blood pressure. Arteriolar optimality deviation (an index of microvascular endothelial dysfunction) increased with greater body mass index. Current smoking and increased white blood cell (WBC) count was associated with wider venules. After controlling for smoking, WBC was no longer a significant predictor of venular diameter.

CONCLUSIONS CVD risk factors are associated with retinal microvascular changes in healthy individuals without evidence of CVD, diabetes, or hypertension. CVD risk factors have different influences on the arteriolar and venular bed.