Retinal vessel reactivity is not attenuated in patients with type 2 diabetes compared with matched controls and is associated with peripheral endothelial function in controls

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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Attenuated retinal vasoreactivity in patients with type 2 diabetes preceding diabetic retinopathy development has been proposed to reflect local endothelial dysfunction. Whether retinal vessel reactivity is associated with peripheral endothelial dysfunction and large artery stiffness in patients with type 2 diabetes remains to be elucidated.

METHODS: Twenty patients with type 2 diabetes without retinopathy and 20 sex- and age matched controls (diabetes duration: 9.9 years (range 6.0;12.4), 40% male, age: 66.5 ± 7.3 (diabetes) and 65.2 ± 7.6 years (controls)) were included. Endothelial function was assessed using EndoPAT. Arterial stiffness was assessed by carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity using the SphygmoCor. Retinal blood supply regulation was examined by retinal arteriolar diameter change during 1) isometric exercise (hand-weight lifting), 2) exposure to flickering lights, and 3) a combined stimulus of 1) + 2) using the Dynamic Vessel Analyzer.

RESULTS: No significant differences were observed in retinal vessel reactivity in T2DM patients compared to controls. Endothelial function was associated with mean arteriolar diameter change during only the combination intervention, (Beta = 0.033 [0.0013;0.064], p = 0.042) in the overall population of patients and controls. When groups were analyzed separately, the associations was statistically significant only in controls. However, formal test for interaction was not statistically significant, p = 0.40. No association was observed between pulse wave velocity and retinal arteriolar %-diameter change in patients or controls.

CONCLUSION: Peripheral endothelial function was associated with retinal arteriolar diameter change in the combined sample. The association seemed to be driven primarily by the controls. Our findings indicate that peripheral endothelial function is reflective of endothelial function in the retina mainly in subjects without T2DM, whereas an association in T2DM without retinopathy was not observed. Further studies are needed in T2DM patients with more advanced retinopathy.

TidsskriftJournal of Diabetes and its Complications
Sider (fra-til)641-647
Antal sider7
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2019

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