, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 131-137
Date: 26 Aug 2007

The association of early atherosclerosis and retinopathy in adolescents with type 1 diabetes: preliminary report

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Recent studies have shown a close correlation between advanced diabetic retinopathy and the late stages of atherosclerosis. The purpose of this study was to analyse the association between diabetic retinopathy and early atherosclerotic changes in adolescents with type 1 diabetes. We studied 28 adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Eight patients with nonproliferative retinopathy were compared with the remaining 20 patients, and with 11 healthy controls. The function of endothelium was assessed by measuring flow-mediated dilatation (FMD), the intima-media thickness (IMT) of the common carotid arteries and adhesion molecules (sICAM-1, sVCAM-1, sE-selectin). In the group with retinopathy FMD equalled 7.8±4.1% vs. 12.1±5.1% in the control group (p=0.04), and in the group without retinopathy, 7.6±5.5% (p=0.04 compared to controls). Higher IMT was found in all patients with diabetes in comparison with healthy controls: 0.49±0.06 mm vs. 0.42±0.03 mm (p=0.001). Patients with retinopathy had a significantly higher value of IMT in comparison not only with controls but also with patients without complications: 0.56±0.06 mm vs. 0.47±0.03 mm (p=0.0001). Adhesion molecule levels were not changed in patients with retinopathy. Higher IMT was found in adolescents with diabetic retinopathy in comparison with patients without complications, which may suggest that macrovascular changes are more advanced in these patients than in their diabetic peers without retinopathy.