Introduction The laser Doppler imaging (LDI) FLARE and corneal confocal microscopy (CCM) are reliable markers of small fibre function (SFF) and structure (SFS), respectively, but the impact of potential confounding variables needs to be defined. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of age, anthropometric and biochemical variables on LDI and CCM. Methods 80 healthy volunteers (43 males) (age: 39.7±15.2 yrs.) underwent LDIFLARE and CCM assessment and the effect of age, anthropometric and biochemical variables was determined using multivariate analysis. Results There was an age-related decline in LDIFLARE (0.07cm2/yr; R2 = 0.669; p = <0.0001) and CCM parameters (CNFD: 0.05 fibres/mm2 /yr; R2 = 0.590; p = <0.0001, CNBD: 0.06 branches/mm2/yr; R2 = 0.549; p = 0.001and CNFL 0.07 mm/mm2/yr; R2 = 0.369; p = 0.009). BMI did not influence SFF (p = 0.08) but had a significant independent association with CNFD (p = 0.01). Fasting triglycerides (TG) independently influenced the LDIFLARE (βc:-0.204; p = 0.008) and all CCM indices (βc:-0.191 to -0.243; p = <0.05). HbA1c was significantly associated with CNFD only (p = 0.001) but not with LDIFLARE, CNBD or CNFL (p = 0.05). Blood pressure and total cholesterol were not associated with LDIFLARE or any CCM parameters. There was a significant correlation between LDIFLARE and all CCM parameters (p = 0.01). Conclusions This study shows that in healthy controls, both SFF measured by LDIFLARE and SFS assessed by CCM showed a significant inverse correlation with age and triglycerides, perhaps suggesting the use of age-specific normative values when interpreting these outcomes. Furthermore, this study shows that in healthy controls, despite measuring different neural parameters, both methods correlated significantly with each other.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)