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Kaitlyn A. Sapoznik, Thomas J. Gast, Alessandra Carmichael-Martins, Brittany R. Walker, Raymond L. Warner, Stephen A. Burns; Retinal Arteriolar Wall Remodeling in Diabetes Captured With AOSLO. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2023;12(11):16. https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.12.11.16.
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Adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (AOSLO) enables the visualization and measurement of the retinal microvasculature structure in humans. We investigated the hypothesis that diabetes mellitus (DM) induces remodeling to the wall structure in small retinal arterioles. These alterations may allow better understanding of vascular remodeling in DM.
We imaged retinal arterioles in one eye of 48 participants (26 with DM and 22 healthy controls) with an AOSLO. Structural metrics of 274 arteriole segments (203 with DM and 71 healthy controls) ≤ 50 µm in outer diameter (OD) were quantified and we compared differences in wall thickness (WT), wall-to-lumen ratio (WLR), inner diameter (ID), OD, and arteriolar index ratio (AIR) between controls and participants with DM. We also compared the individual AIR (iAIR) in groups of individuals.
The WLR, WT, and AIRs were significantly different in the arteriole segments of DM participants (P < 0.001). The iAIR was significantly deviated in the DM group (P < 0.001) and further division of the participants with DM into groups revealed that there was an effect of the presence of diabetic retinopathy (DR) on the iAIR (P < 0.001).
DM induces remodeling of wall structure in small retinal arterioles and in groups of individuals. The use of AIR allows us to assess remodeling independently of vessel size in the retina and to compute an index for each individual subject.
High-resolution retinal imaging allows noninvasive assessment of small retinal vessel remodeling in DM that can improve our understanding of DM and DR in living humans.
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