Background: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a serious complication of diabetes that can lead to blindness. As diagnosis is often made when cell and vision loss are already existing, detecting retinal changes at early stages is crucial. Due to its high vascularization, changes in the choroid play an important role in the pathogenesis of retinal impairment and therefore might be an early diagnostic target.
Aim: The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate BMI- and glucose-dependent changes in choroidal thickness (ChT) of healthy volunteers under standardized conditions.
Methods: 18 healthy volunteers aged 19 to 42 years (mean±SEM: 26.2±1.7 years) with a body mass index (BMI) between 20 to 34 kg/m2 (24.9±0.8 kg/m2) were included. During an intravenous glucose tolerance test (ivGTT), blood glucose profiles were measured by a gold-standard laboratory system. Simultaneously, a second researcher assessed ChT by optical coherence tomography (OCT, company Heidelberg Engineering GmbH). Researchers were blinded to measurements done by the other one.
Results: In general, ChT was positively correlated with BMI (r=0.229; P=0.045). Moreover, the steeper increase of blood glucose up to minute 6 of the ivGTT was significantly associated with greater ChT (r=0.254; P=0.039).
Conclusion: ChT is modulated by BMI and short-term fluctuations in blood glucose in healthy subjects without any history of diabetes. It is tempting to speculate that increased ChT and/or reduced susceptibility to glucose dynamics could be a novel marker for early impairment of posterior eye structures. Ongoing studies evaluate ChT and its glucose-dependent variability in patients with diabetes.
S. Meyhoefer: None. B. Wilms: None. R. Chamorro: None. A. Pagels: None. H. Grein: None. S.M. Schmid: None.
German Center for Diabetes Research