Background/aims: To investigate ethnic differences in retinal vascular function and their relationship to traditional risk indicators for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Methods: A total of 90 normoglycaemic subjects (45 South Asian (SA) and 45 age- and gender-matched white Europeans (WEs)) were recruited for the present study. Retinal vessel reactivity to flickering light was assessed by means of the dynamic retinal vessel analyser according to a modified protocol. Fasting plasma glucose, triglycerides (TG), total, LDL and HDL cholesterol were also measured in all individuals. Results: SA individuals showed higher fasting triglyceride (p=0.001) and lower HDL levels (p=0.007), leading to a higher TG:HDL-C ratio (p=0.001) than age-matched WE subjects. Additionally, in SAs, the retinal arterial reaction time in response to flicker stimulation was significantly longer in the last flicker cycle than in the WEs (p=0.039), and this change correlated positively with measured plasma TG levels (r=0.60; p=0.01). No such relationship was observed in the WEs (p>0.05). Conclusion: Even in the absence of overt vascular disease, in otherwise healthy SAs there are potential signs of retinal vascular function impairment that correlates with established plasma markers for CVD risk.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience