Retinal vascular caliber, cardiovascular risk factors, and inflammation: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)

Yin Wong Tien, F. M.Amirul Islam, Ronald Klein, Barbara E.K. Klein, Mary Frances Cotch, Cecilia Castro, A. Richey Sharrett, Eyal Shahar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

385 Scopus citations

Abstract

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) μm, and venular caliber 214.0 ± 22.2 μm. 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2341-2350
Number of pages10
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Volume47
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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