Flicker light-induced retinal vasodilation in diabetes and diabetic retinopathy.
OBJECTIVE: Flicker light-induced retinal vasodilation may reflect endothelial function in the retinal circulation. We investigated flicker light-induced vasodilation in individuals with diabetes and diabetic retinopathy. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Participants consisted of 224 individuals with diabetes and 103 nondiabetic control subjects. Flicker light-induced retinal vasodilation (percentage increase over baseline diameter) was measured using the Dynamic Vessel Analyzer. Diabetic retinopathy was graded from retinal photographs. RESULTS: Mean +/- SD age was 56.5 +/- 11.8 years for those with diabetes and 48.0 +/- 16.3 years for control subjects. Mean arteriolar and venular dilation after flicker light stimulation were reduced in participants with diabetes compared with those in control subjects (1.43 +/- 2.10 vs. 3.46 +/- 2.36%, P < 0.001 for arteriolar and 2.83 +/- 2.10 vs. 3.98 +/- 1.84%, P < 0.001 for venular dilation). After adjustment for age, sex, diabetes duration, fasting glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, current smoking status, systolic blood pressure, and use of antihypertensive and lipid-lowering medications, participants with reduced flicker light-induced vasodilation were more likely to have diabetes (odds ratio 19.7 [95% CI 6.5-59.1], P < 0.001 and 8.14 [3.1-21.4], P < 0.001, comparing lowest vs. highest tertile of arteriolar and venular dilation, respectively). Diabetic participants with reduced flicker light-induced vasodilation were more likely to have diabetic retinopathy (2.2 [1.2-4.0], P = 0.01 for arteriolar dilation and 2.5 [1.3-4.5], P = 0.004 for venular dilation). CONCLUSIONS: Reduced retinal vasodilation after flicker light stimulation is independently associated with diabetes status and, in individuals with diabetes, with diabetic retinopathy. Our findings may therefore support endothelial dysfunction as a pathophysiological mechanism underlying diabetes and its microvascular manifestations.
Nguyen, TT; Kawasaki, R; Wang, JJ; Kreis, AJ; Shaw, J; Vilser, W; Wong, TY
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