Intraretinal Microvascular Abnormalities and Venous Beading Have Different Genetic Profiles in Caucasian Patients with Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy
Pearce E., Sivaprasad S., Broadgate S., Kiire C., Downes SM., Halford S., Chong V.
Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is a leading cause of preventable visual impairment in the working age population. Despite the increasing prevalence of DR, there remain gaps in our understanding of its pathophysiology. This is a prospective case-control study comparing the genetic profiles of patients with no DR vs. non-proliferative DR (NPDR) focusing on intraretinal microvascular abnormalities (IRMA) and venous beading (VB) in Caucasians. A total of 596 participants were recruited to the study; 199 with moderate/severe NPDR and 397 with diabetes for at least 5 years without DR. Sixty-four patients were excluded due to technical issues. In total, 532 were analysed; 181 and 351 were in the NPDR group and no DR group, respectively. Those with severe IRMA and VB had distinctly different genetic profiles from each other and from the no DR group, which further supports the theory that these two features of DR might have different etiologies. This also suggests that IRMA and VB are independent risk factors for the development of PDR and may have different pathophysiologies. If these findings are confirmed in larger studies, this could pave the way for personalised treatment options for those more at risk of developing different features of NPDR.